Campaigner Beckie Ramsay 'absolutely overjoyed' at plans to put water safety on school curriculum

  • Water safety campaigner Beckie Ramsay spoke to Granada Reports presenter Lucy Meacock

Water safety campaigner Beckie Ramsay says she is "absolutely overjoyed" after it was announced the topic would be put onto the school curriculum.

Her son Dylan, 13, a fit and strong swimmer, died within three minutes of entering water at Hilltop Quarry in Whittle-le-Woods, close to his home in Chorley.

He had gone to cool down, but drowned after suffering cold water shock.

Ever since his death, 12-years-ago, Beckie has campaigned for lessons in schools, which would include water safety skills in the pool, as well as learning about cold water shock and rip tides.

In July, the government set out its 'School sport and activity action plan' which featured a section on swimming and water safety being included in the primary PE national curriculum.

It praised the "important contribution" made by campaigners including Beckie for raising awareness and providing opportunities to teach pupils the "vital life skill".

Dylan's mum Beckie says she wakes up every morning yearning for her son. Credit: Family photo

Reacting to the announcement, Beckie said: “It means that our children will be educated.

"This is just a massive victory for anyone out there that has anything to do with water safety.

“I’m absolutely overjoyed. I feel that Dylan didn’t die for nothing, that’s all I’ve ever wanted.

“It’s tragic that this does come far too late for me and so many other people. I know Dylan would have listened to those lessons. He would have known the risks.

“If this was in place then, he could still be here today."

Dylan died in 2011 but his mum Beckie has not stopped campaigning to get water safety on the school curriculum. Credit: ITV Granada

Beckie spends time traveling the country to deliver her message about Dylan to schools, colleges, emergency services and workplaces.

She has set up a charity in Dylan's name to raise awareness, and said she would not stop doing what she does until the government takes action.

The government's policy paper said: "All pupils should also be taught practical water safety techniques in a pool, such as how to float, tread water, signal for help and exit from deep water.

"This can be complemented by classroom-based lessons that go further and cover aspects such as cold water shock, beach flags or the dangers of rip currents."

Schools Minister Nick Gibb said that full guidance will be published in spring 2024. Beckie says she will not hesitate to ensure the government adheres to this timeline.

She said: “We have it in writing, the government have said what they’ve said - they have to act on it now. It can’t be a postcode lottery.

“That’s another fight that we’ve got. Drowning doesn’t discriminate. We have to respect water because it doesn’t respect us. It’s so powerful.

“More people die in water than fires every single year.

“This is not just for Dylan, this is for all the lives that have gone in open water. In the future, less lives will be gone because of this."

Figures show since Dylan's death in 2011, more than 7,200 people have drowned in open water.

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