Lancashire

Chorley campaigner calls for better water safety training and more safety kit

Beckie Ramsay
Image caption Beckie Ramsay says it is 'about time' the government acts on water safety

A woman from Lancashire whose son drowned eight years ago has renewed her calls for better water safety after a spate of recent deaths.

Beckie Ramsay, of Chorley, is demanding compulsory education for secondary school pupils and for safety equipment to be installed around all open water.

Mrs Ramsay's 13-year-old son Dylan drowned at Hill Top Quarry in 2011.

The government said swimming and water safety education were mandatory in primary schools across England.

Mrs Ramsay said she did not think this was enough, adding: "We need the government to provide compulsory water safety education [in secondary schools] and equipment at all sites to save 400 lives every year."

On Sunday a man died while "trying to save" a nine-year-old girl from drowning in a country park reservoir in Staffordshire.

And last week, schoolgirl Shukri Abdi, 12, drowned in the River Irwell near Bury.

Image caption Dylan Ramsay would have turned 21 this year

Mrs Ramsay believes her son would have been celebrating his 21st birthday this year had he benefitted both from more education and readily available safety equipment at the quarry where he drowned.

She is concerned that existing "swift water rescue teams" can be up to 22 miles away from exposed areas of open water.

Mrs Ramsay has met Education Secretary Damien Hinds and his predecessor Justine Greening to discuss the provision of education.

She said: "Their response has always been 'we give schools a sports and activities budget and it's up to them if they spend that on water safety.'"

The campaigner launched a petition in May to urge them to ensure that safety measures are put in place.

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