The parents of a young man who died in York’s latest river tragedy have called for urgent action to prevent future deaths.

Sonny Ferry, 19, died after falling into the River Ouse. Working in the city as a labourer, he had been on a night out last Friday when the accident happened.

His body was recovered close to the Blue Bridge on Sunday (14 April).

Parents Kate and Stephen Ferry, from Rutland in the East Midlands, described Sonny as “a beautiful young man”.

They said:

  • We named our baby boy Sonny Joseph Ferry, he was just 19 when he died and he was beautiful in every way.

    He was our sunshine.

‘A national disgrace’

The Blue Bridge on the River Ouse. Photograph: YorkMix
Kate and Stephen are calling for urgent changes to prevent more river deaths.

Kate has written to York Central MP Rachael Maskell after she called for a review on river safety.

She writes:

  • As I am sure you will understand we believe that the death of our child, and the deaths of so many more dearly loved and precious individuals in the rivers of York, and indeed across the country, is a national disgrace and therefore demands immediate action.

Sonny’s parents want to meet Ms Maskell – and their own MP Alan Duncan – to press for change, saying:

  • This meeting my family and I believe, is of the upmost importance as the bank holiday is fast approaching, which means that so many more people are potentially in harm’s way alongside our rivers and waterways.

    And simply put it would be unbearable for my family and I to hear of another avoidable death, without having first done all in our power to prevent it.

Kate finishes by saying: “Hopefully together we can do our very best to prevent more such tragedies.”

Safety in spotlight

Police on King Staith next to the River Ouse in York on April 12. Photograph: YorkMix
River safety is back in the spotlight after a series of tragedies and incidents.

The body of missing York man Lee Evennett was recovered from the River Foss on April 6.

A woman in her 70s was discovered in the River Ouse on last Friday (12 April), and Sonny’s body was recovered on Sunday.

And last Saturday (13 April) a woman was rescued after falling into the Ouse near Lendal Bridge.

These events prompted Jackie Roberts, who campaigned for river safety after her daughter Megan died in the Ouse following a night out in January 2014, to renew her concerns.

She said: “Someone has to die before anything gets done, and it tends to be grieving relatives who have to find the energy to try and make things happen.”