An average of one person every 20 hours drowns in the UK each year. To help raise awareness of this issue, the Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK), a drowning prevention charity, have created a hard-hitting video featuring people who have lost loved ones.
The annual campaign aims to reduce the hundreds of accidental drownings that occur every year in the UK – the latest figures show that 338 people lost their lives in 2014, and many of these deaths could have been avoided.
RLSS UK produced the six minute video to show the aftermath of these events and the effects they have upon families who lose someone close to them.
The story of RLSS UK ambassador, Jackie Roberts, features in the film. Jackie lost her 20-year-old daughter Megan after she fell into the river Ouse in York in January 2014.
She said: “Since losing Megan to drowning I’ve been actively involved in drowning prevention work, and working with the RLSS UK in the making of this film is something I am proud to be part of.
“I fully support RLSS UK and drowning prevention week and I hope that the film goes a long way in raising awareness about the dangers and the devastation that drowning leaves in its wake. Please watch and share as widely as possible.”
Other families included in the film are Olivia and Nigel Rowe from Wiltshire who lost their three-year-old Jack in 2014, Stephen Harris from Nuneaton who lost his 18-year-old son, Jay, after he drowned in a quarry in 2009, Lucy Herd whose son Jack drowned in 2010, he was just under two-years-old, and Sue Mitchell whose son Alex drowned in London’s Serpentine in 2014, he was 26-years-old.
RLSS UK’s Chief Executive, Di Steer, said: “Firstly we are extremely grateful to all of the brave families that had the strength to tell their stories. They are remarkable.
“We now hope that people will watch, listen and understand that such a tragedy could happen to anyone.
“We don’t, however, want to discourage people from enjoying water safely, in designated, lifeguarded environments. Water is fantastic fun, but can be deadly as we can so tragically see in our film.”
As well as spreading water safety messages to groups across the UK, Drowning Prevention Week serves to raise money for the RLSS UK’s drowning prevention initiatives.
Di added: “We urge as many people to get involved as possible, anything from sharing the film on social media to running a fundraising event, to maybe going into your child’s school with some of our resources, or visiting your local leisure centre to see what activities they are planning. Let’s help to reduce drowning together.”
RLSS UK Ambassador, Former Olympic swimmer, Mark Foster added: “The second most important thing after learning to swim, is to make sure you know what to do if someone gets into difficulties in the water, and that’s why I am delighted to be the RLSS UK ambassador to encourage everyone to participate in Drowning Prevention Week.”