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Mum relives tragedy after teen is saved

Thursday, June 21, 2007A MUM whose son died in a river tragedy relived the horror last week when she heard of an incident in the River Conwy where a lad of around the same age almost drowned.

Debbie Turnbull from Rhos-on-Sea lost her 15-year-old son Chris in August last year when he jumped into fast flowing water at Pont Cyfnyg Falls near Capel Curig while fooling around with a group of friends. He was sucked under by the powerful currents even though he was a strong swimmer.

Since then she has launched a campaign aimed at educating youngsters about the dangers of water.

So she was horrified last week when she heard of the near tragedy close to Conwy Bridge when Llandudno teenager Richard Jones, 16, was swimming with several friends.

He started to tire as he battled the currents which swirl near the bridge and went underwater several times as he floundered.

Luckily, his friend Gareth Thomas, who has life saving training, was able to reach him and haul him to safety.

The Ysgol John Bright Year 10 pupil later described how he almost drowned.

“I was swallowing loads of water, my head went under. It got to the point where I was going to just let go, go under and die,” he said.

His words were a shock to Debbie.

“The situation was so similar to the one in which I lost Chris, and I never want another mother to go through what I’ve been through. That’s why I started my campaign,” she said.

Debbie contacted Ysgol John Bright and every day this week has been visiting the school to talk to each year group about the dangers of playing in or near water.

“They have been very receptive and I hope I’ve got the message across,” she said.

Debbie is planning to visit other local schools to show a film highlighting the dangers of water, and speaking about her tragedy.

This Friday sees the launch of her campaign website which has been developed by Conwy-based creative design company Blah D Blah, and has received sponsorship from Anthony Flint estate agents and Nant veterinary surgery of Rhos-on-Sea.

And at Llandudno’s emergency services day on July 29, she is launching a youth branch of the RNLI to get young people involved in the charity’s lifesaving work.

“I’m also hoping to encourage leisure centres to run more life saving classes,” she added.

by Judith Phillips, North Wales Weekly News

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