Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service has launched a campaign to educate young people about the dangers of water.
The campaign, called #RememberRony, has been backed by the family of Huntingdon teenager Rony John, who lost his life while playing with friends last year in the River Ouse.
Group Commander Chris Parker, Head of Community Fire Safety at Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service (CFRS), told Connect FM: ” What happened last year to Rony John was heartbreaking and we want this education campaign to be a lasting legacy so that some good can evolve from his tragic death.
“We have pledged to deliver water safety education at key stage two and three to every school in Cambridgeshire to educate young people about the risks of jumping in and swimming in our county s waterways.
” We will be asking young people to pledge their support on social media using #RememberRony and we hope that when young people are standing on the water s edge, thinking about jumping in to the enticing water, that they stop for a moment, and remember what happened to Rony.”
In the past five years there have been 16 deaths in Cambridgeshire s waterways at water rescue incidents attended by the fire service. At the 81 water rescues CFRS attended during that time, a further 32 people were rescued by fire crews luckily without the victims incurring any injuries.
The day after the schools broke up for the summer holidays on July 24, 2014, 15-year-old Rony John, who was not a strong swimmer, jumped into the River Ouse, in Hartford, while playing with friends. After getting into difficulty in the water, and despite his friends best efforts, he drowned.
Sara Thomas, Rony s aunt, told Connect FM: ” We are supporting the campaign so a positive thing can come out of what happened to Rony and it can be his lasting legacy. We want more young people to know about the dangers of swimming and playing in rivers and open water and we want people to Remember Rony.
“We also want to see the provision of swimming lessons for all children in schools.”