Children still swimming in dangerous spot where Huntingdon teenager Rony John drowned

09:00 27 August 2014

Rony, second from right, was part of a cup win.

Rony, second from right, was part of a cup win.

Archant

Children are still swimming in the River Great Ouse where a teenager drowned while playing with his friends on the first day of the summer holidays.

Councillor Patrick Kadewere told The Hunts Post that children have been spotted in the past few weeks in the water at Church Lane, Hartford, the exact spot where 15-year-old Rony John died on July 24.

Rony, of Tomlinson Court, Huntingdon, was jumping in the river with friends when he failed to resurface, sparking a search of the river.

Cllr Kadewere said it was “unbelievable that children were still using the river as a swimming pool”.

He added: “The people who know what has happened will not be swimming here, but there are the others who don’t and they are still doing it. I spoke to a woman who said that she didn’t know what to do when she saw people jumping in.

“Parents need to tell their children not to swim here as we have already had one tragedy. We don’t want another.

“We need to raise awareness to more people to try to get them to stop jumping into the river and to know what has happened. We must learn from this and do something. We don’t want a situation where another person dies and we go ‘why wasn’t anything done last time?’”

The Labour councillor is also helping the Huntingdon Alliance for Indians (HAI) to get warning signs placed next to the river and yesterday afternoon (Tuesday) met with an officer from Huntingdonshire District Council to see where they could be fitted.

Cllr Kadewere will be meeting him again in the next couple of weeks to find a suitable sign for the green space next to the river at Church Lane.

“I will be working very hard on this project. Things are progressing as we are working with the council’s operations department to make this happen,” Cllr Kadewere said.

He is also investigating ways to prohibit people from swimming in the river at Hartford, as well as working with schools in the area to help spread awareness of the dangers of swimming in rivers and gravel pits.

“We also want to try to get parents to get their children to learn how to swim as it will help prevent tragedies not only here but if they go on their holidays too,” he said.

HAI is also working with the district council to have a memorial bench to Rony placed on the green.

4 comments

  • why no comments? I wrote a considered piece this morning.

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    swansswimmer

    Thursday, August 28, 2014

  • Hi Councillor Kadewere, Please read through below and take a look at the attachment, a sign in use to reduce risk at another well known swimmingdipping spot. This is just one example which I know we could improve on and personalise to the Great Ouse. It is not just the Hartford stretch that is a risk to residents and visitors. HDC could take 3 small measures to really enhance the risk appreciation of our river targeted primarily at the most at risk group, teenage boys. I live in St Neots and have decided to try and encourage people to progress from "No Swimming" which each summer is proved to be ineffective to river appreciation and risk awareness. Councillor Kadewere is reported as saying "We need to raise awareness to more people to try to get them to stop jumping into the river and to know what has happened. We must learn from this and do something. We don’t want a situation where another person dies and we go ‘why wasn’t anything done last time?’” The key sentence is "We must learn from this and do something" The "No Swimming" approach does not reduce the risks. I have recently suggested to an Officer of HDC that 1) InformationEducation signs at the established swimdipping spots 2) targeted education to primarily teenage boys (I offered to assist with this) and 3) rescue steps clearly signed and kept accessible especially from the water, downstream of jumping points. These measure will make the target audience and their friends and family aware of the risks and howwhere to swim safely. Visitors can be influenced by the signage River awareness and appreciation will reduce the risks. The lady referred to in the article could benefit too so that she knows what to do and to say if she feels that people are in the river and might be at risk. The first simple message is If YOU can not swim, do NOT go in the river But this is the minimum and we could do such much more. I hope the Councillor and the Council take this matter seriously and research initiatives which might cost a few £100 but could save a local life. I have made a similar representation to St Neots Town Council too.

    Carding_Mill_Valley

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    swansswimmer

    Thursday, August 28, 2014

  • For safety advice please see: http:www.hungouttodry.co.ukpage9.htm

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    Chris Ayriss

    Thursday, August 28, 2014

  • No one wants to see children lose their lives. River swimming can be safe. I have just returned from a holiday in Switzerland where attitudes toward river swimming are very different: http:youtu.be25Ia5CsAd04

    River Swimming encouraged in the Rhine, Basil, Switzerland

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    Chris Ayriss

    Thursday, August 28, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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