Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson has thrown his weight behind a grieving mum’s petition to make swimming and water safety lessons compulsory for school children.
Beckie Ramsay (33), from Chorley, had her life torn apart in 2011 when her son Dylan (13) drowned at Hill Top Quarry, in Whittle-le-Woods.
Since her son’s death, Beckie has been working tirelessly to raise awareness of the dangers of swimming in open water. She has launched the “Doing it for Dylan” campaign and visited schools with a Powerpoint presentation.
Now she aims to collect 100,000 signatures to make it compulsory for all primary school children to have had swimming lessons before starting high school. And she also hopes to see high school children taught about water safety every year.
Her work has recently been backed by Mr Stephenson, who is helping Beckie achieve her goals of getting the petition debated in Parliament.
Beckie, who has also helped produce a water safety DVD, said: “I am happy that Andrew is supporting the campaign. It would be really appreciated if any of the councillors in Pendle would be able to help Andrew, as it is not a one-man job to get it pushed through to Parliament.”
As well as working on her new venture, Beckie is happy to come and visit schools in Pendle to promote the importance of swimming safely.
She added: “I wish I had been more educated before Dylan died, and I wasn’t. Now I am, and I am trying to help other people. I wouldn’t wish this pain on my worst enemy.
“Outside swimming shouldn’t be done, full stop. But if it is going to be done, then it should be in a safe environment.”
And Mr Stephenson said: “In my mind both swim-safe education and competent swimming skills are important, but it needs everyone to pitch in and reinforce the message. Friends, parents, and neighbours, as well as teachers and campaigners, need to push the point that swimming in open waters can so easily, quickly, and surprisingly lead to a tragic death of someone close to you.”
Schools wanting Beckie to visit or send a water safety DVD can email firstname.lastname@example.org
To sign her petition go to epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/53219