River warnings welcomed by mother of Megan Roberts

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NEW campaigns to encourage people to think before drinking near open water have been welcomed by Jackie Roberts.

Jackie's daughter Megan was 20 when she disappeared on a night out with friends in York in January, and her body was found in the River Ouse several weeks later.

Megan, who was a fine art student at York St John University, was the first of four people to die in York's rivers this year, with Ben Clarkson, Tyler Pearson, and Dr Mandeep Ahluwalia all victims to the Ouse and Foss in recent months.

Last week, a series of videos were released by North Yorkshire Police as part of their Less Drinking, More Thinking campaign, in which officers told the camera about real-life incidents they have attended, and City of York Council's Plan Safe, Drink Safe, Home Safe is an ongoing campaign with messages displayed around the city's universities, pubs, train station and on buses.

Jackie said the campaigns by police and the council was well-directed, and also praised the work of Dave Benson and the York Rescue Boat, and said he had "worked hard to create awareness", and the charity would be "a long term ongoing prevention and response".

She said: "I'm really pleased that something is being put in place to tackle the alcohol awareness and staying safe aspect.

"I'm also very much behind the York Rescue Boat charity, which not only works to create awareness of potential dangers, but would act as a response if needed. The situation in York, with the river such a major feature of the city, needs to be tackled from several different angles."

Jackie said she could not believe there had been yet more rescues after the dangers had clearly been proven, with police arresting a man who jumped twice into the Ouse while drunk, and a teenage girl who was playing with friends by the river was also rescued after jumping in over the last seven days.

Later this summer, Police and Crime Commissioner will hold the second river safety summit in York, with organisations and authorities responsible for public wellbeing and safety around rivers expected to build on the work done at the first summit in March.

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