Hastings woman to host evening in memory of cousin, 19, who drowned in river

A Hastings woman will be holding a charity evening to raise money for a rescue lifeboat following the tragic death of her cousin.

Thursday, 23rd May 2019, 5:41 pm
Sonny Ferry. Picture supplied by Kelly Lee

Sonny Ferry, who lived in Hastings until he was seven, fell into a river and drowned after becoming separated from a group of workmates on a night out in York in April.

The 19-year-old became the fifth person to die in York’s rivers in the space of three weeks, prompting his parents Kate and Stephen to set up a fundraiser to buy a lifeboat for the York Rescue boat team.

Sonny’s family intends to raise £45,000 which will go directly to the York Rescue Boat charity to cover the cost of a fully-kitted rescue boat, The Humber Destroyer 7m.

Sonny Ferry (far right) with his family. Picture supplied by Kelly Lee

On Saturday, June 15, Sonny’s cousin Kelly Lee will be hosting Sonny’s Sunshine Fundraiser at Hastings United sports and social club, starting at 7pm.

She said: “I’ve got a raffle which has got some really good prizes. I’ve managed to get hold of Go Ape vouchers which are worth £60, experience vouchers worth £50, food vouchers for Toby Carvery, a free experience at 1066 and crazy golf family of four tickets.

“We’ll have Rory Jackson who was on Britain’s Got Talent performing as Michael Jackson as well as Sandra Martin from Gogglebox. There will also be a photo booth and a DJ. All of that has been confirmed.”

Kelly said tickets will cost £15 and they can be purchased by calling her on 07856 598799 or on the door on June 15.

Sonny Ferry with his parents. Picture supplied by Kelly Lee

All money raised from the charity night will be donated to a GoFundMe page set up in the wake of Sonny’s death.

The fundraiser has now passed the £8,500 mark.

In a post on the campaign page, Sonny’s family said: “The campaign has been initiated after our sweet, beautiful child Sonny perished in the river Foss in the early hours of Saturday 13th April 2019.

“Tragically, after recently meeting with Rachael Maskell, MP for York Central, two members of the York Rescue boat team, at the offices of the York Post, we were to discover that our story was just one of so many more similar tragedies that occur in York and across the UK, in our rivers and waterways. In York alone there have been four deaths within a two week period.

Sonny Ferry with his siblings. Picture supplied by Kelly Lee

“The current boat in use is woefully inadequate. If someone is pulled from the river, the boat is not even large enough for the rescue team to perform potentially lifesaving procedures. The kit on the old boat does not give the volunteer rescuers the best chance of pulling a casualty from the water even if the casualty is just metres from the rescue boat.”

Sonny’s family is intending to raise £45,000.

You can donate by clicking here.

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