What a week it was for . . Martin Hinchcliffe
Friday 23 June 1995
But only, it seems, in matters romantic."Martin was certainly not worried about his GCSEs," his mother said yesterday, unwittingly echoing the words of Carol Daignault, mother of Michelle. No, young Martin was moved to throw himself off the Sugar Lump, near Beachy Head, not by revision nerves but because he and Michelle had argued - possibly, it now seems, because she wanted to dump him. "I don't want to go into it," says her mother, "but when he refused to go into the cinema, lost his bottle and stomped off, she did not expect to see him again."
Nor did Martin's mother, who by Monday had received her son's suicide note. Perhaps having had a first brush with Keats at school, Martin decided to offer himself as a sacrifice to his love. Fortunately for his parents, his grand exit didn't quite come off. Instead of decorating the cliff face with a poetic smattering of dismembered limbs, he landed in a crevice, where he survived for three days - before his discovery on Tuesday - by sucking pebbles.Those pebbles changed everything. What would have been commemorated as a tragic act of despair (as he intended) turned instead into a tale of fortitude, albeit imbued with an element of farce. Sucking porous stones to quench his thirst was a trick he had learnt from his father while collecting fossils on the beach. Wedged into his gulley he sucked on chalk for all he was worth, in the process elevating the pebble to the status of outdoor survival aid on a par with the Mars bar and Kendal mint cake.
Not surprisingly, nobody has pointed out what doctors appear to agree upon: that Martin need not have bothered with the pebbles. "At his age he could have easily survived three days without water," says one. But we need those stones, because without them young Martin's heroic aura vanishes. And what of his future? When his broken leg mends, will he be just another overweight adolescent locked in his bedroom? He has now officially been dumped by Michelle. She, in turn, has taken to her bedroom after the ordeal and is suffering from chronic hayfever. "We hope she can put this behind her," says her mother.
But a flicker of Martin's romantic intentions may yet survive. Surely one who is prepared to throw himself off a cliff will not give up easily. We have here the makings of a truly grand tragedy on the scale of Aida. The nation waits for the next instalment.
Life & Style blogs
Alexander McQueen at auction: What makes a really great piece of fashion?
A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
No female ejaculation, please, we’re British: a history of porn and censorship
Stressed nurses are 'forced to choose between health of patients and their own'
Pornhub: Kim Kardashian's sex tape is the most-watched porn video of all-time
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...
£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...
£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...
£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...