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Doing it for Dylan

STA has agreed to put its full support behind a mother’s campaign to educate youngsters about the dangers of swimming in open water.

Doing it for Dylan

STA is joining forces with Rebecca Ramsay, from Chorley, in Lancashire, who set up the campaign Doing It For Dylan, following the tragic death of her 13-year-old son.

Dylan Ramsay drowned in the summer of 2011 as he tried to swim back to safety after he jumped into the water at Hill Top Quarry, near Chorley. Despite being a strong swimmer, he quickly got into difficulties and drowned when his body went into shock because of the plummeting water temperature.

He was a young, fit and healthy boy who was a strong swimmer, yet he struggled and was unable to reach safety when he jumped into the quarry.

Since then, Rebecca has worked tirelessly to raise awareness and to educate young people about the dangers of swimming in open water. Working on her own, she has toured the country giving talks in schools and to youth groups without any external support.

Now, to help further Rebecca’s campaign, STA is offering to donate a host of its water safety resources to her campaign. This will include items such as its activity packs that feature STA’s much-loved water safety mascot STAnley, posters, and its 16-page water safety booklet, which has been designed to teach children in the classroom about water safety. These will be used to hand out in schools and at other organisations such as Cubs and Brownies.

There are also plans for further joint campaigns in 2016, as part of STA’s National Water Safety Week.

Rebecca’s story is incredibly poignant, but sadly it’s not unique. First and foremost, educating young people about water safety must be taught in schools, and then for youngsters to hear first-hand from people like Rebecca who have lost a loved one, it really helps to drive home the message.

Rebecca is doing an incredible job and when we heard her story we wanted to get involved and offer our support. By working together, we believe we can make a difference and can save lives.

Kayle Burgham, STA’s Technical Manager for Aquatics

About 400 people a year die from accidental drowning; 81% of these are male and the highest age range 20 – 29 year old. And, like Dylan, 60% of these drownings tragically happen in inland water areas.

We are a whole generation that knows very little regarding water safety/drowning prevention yet it is a huge problem in the country (and the world in fact).

At one of her latest talks at Longridge High School, near Preston, STA supported Rebecca by donating 300 of its water safety booklets – one for every Year 6 child from 14 primary schools that took part in its annual Safety Town week (Year 6 pupils from Longridge High School pictured above).

Interestingly Doing it for Dylan’s annual involvement with Safety Town week has also resulted in pupils from Longridge High School not socially congregating by the reservoir behind the school any more – historical this was a safety concern for the school and the local water company.

Lancashire Fire & Rescue have also praised Rebecca’s work, citing they have seen a reduction in water rescues as a result of the awareness created.

Rebecca said:

I felt I had to do something after Dylan died. He was a young, fit and healthy boy who was a strong swimmer, yet he struggled and was unable to reach safety when he jumped into the quarry.

I am extremely grateful to STA for their involvement because I am very aware of the amazing work with young children that they do. I feel that I can be as much of a help to STA as they are to me. It’s a complementary alliance.

STA’s water safety campaigns focus on younger learners – teaching them to swim, lifesaving skills and how to be safe in and around the water. My message/awareness and educational visits are emotional and educational, so are very well received by teens, young adults and the older generation.

We are a whole generation that knows very little regarding water safety/drowning prevention yet it is a huge problem in the country (and the world in fact). We hear of deaths because it is news and it is open and shut – a person lives or dies – but what about all the near misses – hundreds and thousands yearly. I suspect so many are not even known about.

Hopefully by working together with STA, we can educate even more people across all age groups, and eliminate many of the needless deaths. If by sharing my pain one family does not go through the same, then all my efforts have been worthwhile and Dylan died for others to live. My son will not have died in vain if people live because he died.

Rebecca has also set up a petition here with the aim of making drowning prevention part of the national curriculum.

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