Essex

Ben Quartermaine: Mum hopes pupils learn lesson of sea death

Ben Quartermaine and Vicky Gentry Image copyright Vicky Gentry
Image caption Vicky Gentry said her son Ben Quartermaine could not swim

The mother of a teenager who died after being swept out to sea says she hopes school water safety lessons will save others from going through her anguish.

Ben Quartermaine, 15, got into difficulty while swimming with a friend near Clacton Pier, Essex, on 26 July.

He was swept out to sea by a current and disappeared for two days before his body was found.

His mum Vicky Gentry said she was pleased his school was warning pupils about the dangers of the sea.

Mrs Gentry said: "I think it is great the whole school is remembering him and doing what they can to stop it happening again.

"It would have been great for it to have been taught earlier but the fact it is being taught now is going to stop someone else going through it. If it can save one child's life it is worth it."

Image caption Vicky Gentry, Ben Quartermaine's mum, visited his school

Pupils at Clacton Coastal Academy have been teaching their peers about water dangers with help from the RNLI.

The school's Youth Leadership Group organised a water safety week as part of series of events raising awareness of dangers pupils can face, and to pay tribute to Ben.

Image copyright Vicky Gentry
Image caption Ben Quartermaine died after being swept out to sea in July

Pupil Nadine, 16, said Ben's death had been difficult but the school had come together as a community to remember him.

She said: "In our leavers assembly our head of year made a speech about Ben and we came together to move on and celebrate his life rather than dwelling on what happened."

Image caption The Young Leadership Group included tributes to Ben within its lessons

Among lessons learned by pupils were how to float; what to do when caught in a riptide; and the meaning of different-coloured flags on the beach.

Clacton Lifeboat helmsman Tim Sutton, who helped in the search for Ben, said: "The coastline looks like a big playground but it can be a dangerous one."

Image caption Pupils heard about how to stay safe in the water

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