A LIFEBELT has finally been installed on a York riverside, a year after efforts to rescue a drowning man were hampered by a lack of such vital lifesaving equipment.

BT has now provided the belt in a public area near the River Foss at the back of its telephone exchange in Stonebow.

The company originally decided to install it in April after The Press told it about an inquest into the death of Liam Davey in the Foss in July last year.

The inquest was told that after Liam, 25, of York, went into the water, people saw him struggling and searched the area for a lifebelt to throw to him but couldn’t find one.

A passerby, Michael Carr, then jumped in and dived repeatedly to the bottom of the river, where he eventually found Liam lying.

He brought him to the surface and attempted to revive him, but he died in hospital the next day from multiple organ failure caused by drowning.

Liam’s father Nigel said after the inquest that the site was open to the public and he thought the landowner had a responsibility to ensure such equipment was available.

Quizzed by The Press, BT then said that it had taken the decision to install a lifebelt on the footpath alongside its building, which it hoped will help to prevent similar tragedies from happening in future.

Kate Ferry, who has been campaigning for safety improvements on York’s rivers since her 19-year-old son Sonny drowned in the Foss in April, said yesterday that she welcomed the installation by BT of the lifebelt.

However, she felt it was "shameful" that it had not already been in place when Liam went into the water, and that it had been a year after his death - and three months after the inquest - before the ring had finally been put in place.

A BT spokesman said: “We again extend our condolences to Liam’s family and friends following this tragedy and we welcome City of York Council’s review of safety provision along the River Foss.

“We’re pleased to confirm we have installed a new lifebelt on the footpath alongside our building.”