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Mother of drowned teenager sends out water safety warning

July 17, 2012
Debbie Turnbull

Debbie Turnbull visits the site of her son’s death

Following numerous rescues and the tragic loss of yet more lives in Welsh rivers this summer, a mother from North Wales who lost her only child in a drowning accident is using a Big Lottery Fund grant to raise awareness about river and sea safety- just in time for the school holidays.

On August 14 2006, Debbie Turnbull from Llandudno lost her 15 year old son, Chris, in a drowning accident on the river Conwy, North Wales. Chris had been playing with friends and was completely unaware that he was swimming in a danger spot at Lligwy Falls in Capel Curig.

 Since then, Debbie has vowed to do everything in her power to prevent another family going through the same nightmare. Following the recent spell of bad weather and the loss of yet more lives on Welsh rivers this summer, Debbie is using a grant of nearly £5,000 from the Big Lottery Fund’s Awards for All programme to run a project which aims to educate more children about the dangers of playing in and around rivers.

Chris Turnbull

Chris who died in 2006

Since Chris’s death, Debbie set up her own organisation in Llandudno called River and Sea Sense, and speaks to thousands of children in schools across the country every year. And with the summer holidays on the horizon, the money from BIG will be used to promote river and sea safety by enabling more volunteers to make presentations to schools, youth groups, scouts and cadets in North Wales- predominantly in the Conwy area.

The project consists of a variety of water safety awareness courses coupled with lifesaving and emergency training.  Level 1 is rolling out at present to primary age schoolchildren and the feedback is immense from parents, teachers and the young people according to Debbie. Read the full story in Welsh or English.

Listen to a podcast interview with Debbie Turnbull:

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