THE mother of a student who died in the River Ouse has gone to Westminster to promote water-safety education.
University of York student Megan Roberts was 20 when she disappeared after a night out in York with friends in January. Her body was found in the Ouse several weeks later.
Since then, her mother Jackie Roberts has been involved in The Press’ Take Care campaign, and working with Police and Crime Commissioner Julia Mulligan on a wider river safety campaign, and this week travelled to Parliament with Julian Sturdy, MP for York Outer, for the Royal Life Saving Society’s Drowning Prevention Week.
The campaign runs from today (SAT), until next Sunday (JUN29), and promotes CPR workshops and water safety advice sessions, with MPs asked to pledge to support water safety education to all under-18s in the UK.
Jackie said: “I think education is very important because being a mum, my children have had education on road safety and fire safety in school, but I’ve never known them have anything on water safety on the national curriculum. I think it definitely has to be part of education.
“My daughter’s life meant so much and I want to do something in respect to her and to prevent further tragedies. By getting MPs on board, it encourages local authorities and OFSTED to put it in place. I’m hoping to help however I can.”
Peter Moyes, president of the UK RLSS, said: “Tragically, more than 30 people drowned in just seven weeks during last summer’s heat wave. Around 400 people accidentally drown in the UK every year – one every 20 hours – and thousands more have near-drowning experiences. We were overwhelmed with the support offered by MPs during our session and can’t thank Julian enough for pledging to help us in our efforts, not only during Drowning Prevention Week but all year round, especially to get water safety education taught in all schools.”
Mr Sturdy said: “The work the RLSS do in York, especially surrounding the safety of children, is vitally important. I will be writing to the Education Secretary, Michael Gove, to urge him to make river safety a key part of the national curriculum. I will also be writing out to every school in my constituency with information packs as every child should be able to safely enjoy swimming pools and the seaside this summer.”