Calls for quarry to be drained after 16-year-old boy drowns in Appley Bridge

110722 Fire and rescue service at East Quarry in Wigan
Fire and rescue service near East Quarry in Wigan

There are calls for a quarry to be drained after a 16-year-old boy drowned while swimming on one of the hottest days of the year.

Emergency services were called at 9:40pm on Saturday, 9 July, to reports of a boy that had entered the water and got into difficulty at Dawber Delph, Appley Bridge.

Following a search, the 16-year-old boy was recovered from the water. He died the scene.

His death makes him the third teenager to die at the site.

A local resident who lives opposite the quarry said that her "heart sank" the minute she heard the police helicopter.

Sarah Stephenson said: "Every time I hear the sirens or the helicopter, my stomach just goes into knots.

"I just feel physically sick and I actually cried because you're just waiting for the news of another young life lost in that death pool."

Sarah leads a campaign group that are trying to get the quarry filled in.

Lancashire Constabulary said the death is not being treated as suspicious

The quarry's owner supports the drainage, but says it is unable to carry out the work as it it "has not been approved by the relevant parties".

Sarah said: "We've got a splinter group that are against the quarry being filled in.

"There are some houses that back on to it and they have an absolutely stunning view from their garden.

"They are against it because they don't want to lose their view. You can't compare the loss of a sight to the cost of a child's life."

Sarah said: "The village has got to come together. We can't be them and us anymore.

"We've got to work in partnership. We have got to save these young lives. There is no doubt about it, it needs to be filled and drained."

A mum from Lancashire whose teenage son drowned in a disused quarry also warns of the dangers of swimming in open water.

Beckie Ramsay, who lost her son Dylan in 2011, visited the area following the news.

She said: "I just came by the quarry and reminisced over Dylan's life, over what the poor family is going through.

"When something like this happens that is so similar, you are just kind of reliving your own nightmare."

Beckie is also campaigning for water safety to be taught on the curriculum in schools.

"I've seen the quarry and I've seen it's beauty, but people need to see the dangers," she added.

Maybrook, the owners of the quarry, say it was "deeply saddened" by the boy's death and it has prepared an application "to drain, fill and re-water the Quarry."

In a statement, it said: "Given the delays and objections rather that wait for the determination of a planning application for development of the site, which could take years, we decided in late 2021 to remove the attraction and the danger it poses by reducing the depth of the water within the quarry.

"The external appearance quarry would be the same, but it would be safe.

"Upon issuing of the certificate Maybrook will be able to commence the drainage and works.

"In the view of the clear and ongoing risk to life Maybrook pleads with the council to issue the certificate immediately and without further delays.

"We would be grateful if interested parties could provide us a letter supporting application."


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