River safety plea as anniversay of teenager Jordan Veira's death approaches

The family of teenager Jordan Veira, who tragically drowned in the River Thames, are urging the public to be careful in the water ahead of the anniversary of his death.

Jordan, 15, got into trouble while swimming in the Thames near Bourne End on May 31 last year.

The Furze Platt School pupil was seen disappearing under the surface of the water at 3pm and his body was later recovered by specialist divers.

Jordan’s family said his death has crushed them but they want to use their experience to warn others of the potential danger of open water.

A statement from the teenager’s family said: “Around this time last year, we lost Jordan aged 15 to the river.

“This crushed us, and our lives have not been the same since.

“We cannot turn back the hands of time no matter how much we wish we could, but we can use our voice and the media to warn others of the potential danger of the water.

“Jordan’s family stands together in urging the public to be vigilant in practising water safety, especially during this time when exams are over, the weather is hot and the water is inviting and fun to swim in.”

His family urged members of the public to only go in the water where swimming is allowed, look out for each other and seek help immediately when you see someone possibly in trouble in the water, even if they seem calm.

They also said people should look out for warning signs and restriction notices before going in the water. Mental notes should also be taken of rescue devices nearby and rescue service numbers to call if you spot trouble, the family added.

The advice comes at a time when many people will be spending more time near the river, with half term and the long Jubilee bank holiday weekend taking place next week

The Royal Life Saving Society (RLSS) will be hosting its Drowning Prevention Week from June 18 to June 25 to try and help the public make the right decisions about water safety.

The RLSS said it has seen a rise in drownings in the UK over recent years, with peaks during the summer. In July 2021, there were 49 accidental drowning deaths across the country in the space of just two weeks.

Lee Heard, charity director at the RLSS, said: “We want to ensure that everyone can enjoy their summer break and enjoy being in or around water but be safe in the knowledge that they, and their children, have the skills and understanding about water safety, which could potentially save a life, because every life is worth saving.”

The charity urged people to look for any potential dangers when around water, stay together with family and friends and call 999 in an emergency and ask for the Fire and Rescue Service, or the Coastguard if at the coast.

People should also deploy the ‘float to live’ method if in trouble in the water.

If you fall in or become tired, stay calm, float on your back and call for help. If you see someone in the water, throw something that floats to them and resist temptation to go in.

Leisure Focus, which runs Braywick Leisure Centre, will also be working alongside the Royal Life Saving Society to host free live interactive assemblies for primary school children on water safety.

The sessions will be taking place from June 20-24 with the aim of raising awareness of how to be safe in the water before the summer holidays.

Any school that is interested should email swimming@leisurefocus.org.uk for details.

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