As the weather gets warmer and the temptation to go for a swim gets stronger, one grieving family are saying: “Stay out of open water- you don’t realise how dangerous it is.”
In June last year, the relatives and friends of James Goodship had their lives transformed forever when the popular and bubbly teen drowned in Lake Burwain, Foulridge.
It was a day that seemed like any other, with the 17-year-old enjoying a day of sunshine with a group of friends. But little did they all know that it was soon to become his last.
Now his loved ones have taken part in hard-hitting videos as part of a new education package called “Dying for a Dip” - in the hope others will be spared their ordeal.
Their personal and heart-wrenching accounts have been released following months of partnership work between Leyland crew manager Paul Rigden, Nelson crew manager Steven Gregory, Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service Corporate Communications, RNLI, United Utilities and Rebecca Ramsay’s ‘Doing it for Dylan’ campaign.
Speaking in her son’s new memorial garden, next to Colne Citadel, James’ mum Mel said: “It was incredibly difficult [to do] - although we live with the events of that day and the memories will never fade it is difficult to go over them again.
Our world has been turned upside down, and it is a struggle to have a normal existenceMel Goodship
“But we wanted it to be emotive and hard-hitting and we wanted to get the message across. Our world has been turned upside down, and it is a struggle to have a normal existence. It is all consuming and there is no getting rid of the fact that James is no longer with us.”
And James’ dad Pete added: “We got in touch with the fire brigade and we said ‘we believe you do a water safety week and we would like to allow our personal story in that so it will hopefully stop this happening again.
“James wasn’t just my son, he was my best friend and my soulmate. We did everything together - football, fishing, you name it, we did it.
“It has left a massive hole in my life.
“What I would say to people is stay out of open water. You don’t realise how dangerous it is.
“It doesn’t matter how well you can swim, that cold water will kill you. It’s as simple as that.”
The new package is being delivered in some secondary schools, and it is hoped it can be also be shared with community and youth groups.
Around 400 people in the UK die every year from drowning and it is the third most common cause of death amongst young people aged between 10 and 18.
And there are very few people who recognise the dangers more than James’ friend Keaton Greaves, who had also entered the water from the raft the group was travelling on.
He said: “I have never felt anything like it. It disables your body, it takes over you and it drags you down. The coldness of the water makes your muscles not work and you can’t move.
“I think [the video] is powerful enough for people to realise that water is no game. It will beat you if it’s cold enough.”
And Paul Rigden, crew manager from Leyland Fire Station, said: “There’s loads of different types of dangers associated with going into open water. If you want our package then the fire service would be more than happy to deliver this. You can contact your local fire station.
“What I would say as well is if someone is in the water please please please do not try to save that person.”