School visits are where River And Sea Sense began. I spoke at my son’s school Erias Park in Colwyn Bay around a month after we had lost Chris. I wanted to show people what is was like to lose a son to this terrible tragedy and how I felt so helpless.
From this the school raised over £1600 of which we bought a Lifesaving Raft and 6 Dry Rescue Suits for Ogwen Valley Rescue Team who amongst 70 others searched for my sons body.
The fundraising bug began ……..
The more I spoke in schools the more money I raised for Ogwen Valley and S.A.R.D.A. Search And Rescue Dogs Association.
To date – October 2010 I have spoken to over 58,000 schoolchildren in schools and events put on to raise awareness of the dangers of water. River And Sea Sense are now ‘very proud’ members of the ‘Crucial Crew’ Team who include Police, Fire Service, Childline, Red Cross and other participating agencies who tour schools in a team spreading life-saving messages nationwide. It has recently come to my attention that the Coastguard may not be able to be as involved in these presentations due to financial cutbacks. All the more reason for River And Sea Sense to be supported and sponsored wherever possible.
My talks vary in schools depending what age the young people are. I get my point across in a way only I can do – from my heart and soul. I show the film I made with the BBC entitled – A Boy I Once Knew - 3 mins – and then tell the story of how Chris lost his life and give out other safety messages relating to personal safety, drugs, alcohol and also citizenship. I also bring FUN in to the sessions as young people learn from something they enjoy – again they really do love to get involved. The comments from young people and their teachers on facebook – by letter – and e mail – have helped me to beleive that what I do do makes a difference. I use visualisation and all my training skills to put everything into each presentation I do using NLP and other techniques. The posters and letters children have produced are my priceless treasures that I take away after my presentations.
Though physically and emotionally draining – this works and I truly know and trust that this is what I am meant to do.
I also am available to speak to other groups as an after dinner speaker or otherwise.
John Grisdale 24 June 2010