Family's plea for water safety training after the death of Matthew Sherrington

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"It could have saved his life, he would be here now", the words of a grieving grandfather of a schoolboy who died after playing in the sea in Hartlepool.

The family has now made a plea for better water safety training for young people.

14-year-old Matthew Sherrington - known as Matty - went missing at Steetley Pier on July 15. Emergency services were contacted in the evening, from people concerned about the welfare of a male teenager who was swimming near the West View Road area of the town.

Cleveland Police, Hartlepool RNLI and Coastguard members were involved in the operation, along with help from the Coastguard helicopter. The Manor Academy pupil's body was discovered nearby, a week later. 

Matthew Sherrington Credit: Family photo

Matthew's grandfather Anthony Bell said the family are "devastated" he was swept away by the tide when playing with friends on the summer evening.

The family are now calling for a different approach in the way the public treats the sea.

During the summer holidays, the RNLI and Coastguard are reminding families to be aware of the risks, and have launched a new animated TV advert to help young children understand how to stay safe at the coast.

Key summer safety tips:

  • Visit a lifeguarded beach and swim between the red and yellow flags

  • If you get into trouble Float to Live – lie on your back and relax, resisting the urge to thrash about

  • Call 999 in an emergency and ask for the Coastguard

RNLI lifeguards will be patrolling around 245 beaches across the country this summer to offer advice on how to stay safe and they are also there to help anyone who gets into trouble.