Reservoir safety warning during summer months after tragic death of Padiham man (21)

Seven water safety boards have been installed across the county at key high risk areas
Seven water safety boards have been installed across the county at key high risk areas

Pendle Borough Council has issued a stark warning of the dangers around rivers, reservoirs and lochs following the devastating death of Ben Heany.


Ben, a former pupil of Shuttleworth College, Padiham, died on Sunday after getting into difficulty in the water at Ogden Reservoir in Barley.

Ben Heany

Ben Heany

Now, council officials are warning about the dangers of swimming in open water.

Coun. Mohammed Iqbal, leader of Pendle Borough Council, said: “This is an awful reminder of the dangers of swimming in reservoirs and our condolences go out to this young man’s family and friends. Pendle is a beautiful place and we have many scenic spots near water, but please don’t be tempted to have a dip in open water during spells of hot weather.

“Reservoirs have deep water, which is freezing cold and can numb limbs, while hidden currents and machinery can drag people under. Even the strongest swimmers can quickly get into difficulties.”

Last month Lancashire Fire and Rescue supported a national campaign, which aimed to reduce the number of drowning and near drowning incidences that occur.

Ogden Reservoir, Barley. Photo credit: Peter Stawicki

Ogden Reservoir, Barley. Photo credit: Peter Stawicki

During this campaign, crews remembered teenager James Goodship, who drowned at Burwain Sailing Club, in Foulridge, on 22nd June 2014. His mother, Melanie, has been actively part of water safety messages in the local area and has been part of the project alongside LFRS and the Canal and Rivers Trust about installing water safety boards at key locations in Lancashire.

To mark the anniversary of his death, on June 21st, water safety boards were unveiled at the site in his memory. The crew from Nelson Fire Station attended to do a water demonstration and show how the throwlines can be used.

A spokesman said at the time: "The summertime is a particularly dangerous time of year as air temperatures rise quickly, but water temperatures remain so low that cold shock (the body’s reaction to cold water that immediately causes breathing difficulties and muscle cramps irrespective of the fitness of the individual) is a very real risk; and one that children and young people are often unaware of.

"Cold water shock can affect everyone, even strong swimmers and the young and fit as they cannot control their body’s reaction, often resulting in a heart attack."

The remote Ogden Reservoir in Pendle is owned by United Utilities and is only been accessible by a single track.

A spokesman for United Utilities said: "We are very sad to hear of this tragedy."

Vital advice and warnings to help save lives is available on the United Utilities website – www.unitedutilities.com and search for reservoir safety.