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This page is dedicated to the testimonials and fantastic support River and Sea Sense has received over the years. Thank you all so much for your support.

Friendship tribute song


I would like to state my support for River and Sea Sense and especially the Waterwise project.

North Wales has massive waterfront and river systems that whilst beautiful and an exciting, are also a potential for disaster and heartbreak. River Sea Sense / Waterwise looks to channel the natural inquisitiveness of children and harness this with education and skill to ensure our waters are low risk / high enjoyment areas.

At Clwyd Leisure, operators of the Sun Centre in Rhyl and Nova Centre in Prestatyn are proud to be working with River and Sea Sense as partners in delivering Waterwise to local school children. Being a waterfront town, this should be a mandatory part of children’s education. Waterwise has the potential to save lives and therefore we at Clwyd Leisure have been supporters from the very beginning.

We are presently on course to be hosting Waterwise, and are actively promoting this project with both Town and County councils, the more access into education that can be gained, the more effective the programme has the potential to be to the community.






Ian Turley
General Manager


I found your talk very moving last week. The students talked about many of the presentations they had seen but yours was one of the ones that hit home. With living by the sea and a river we often take our safety for granted. We know the dangers and too many ignore them or get caught up in events beyond their control as your son did.

Students are often chastised in school for using their mobile phones but I think your campaign will help them to realise that they are  a useful tool to let parents know they are safe and to get help in an emergency. I told your story to my own sons who are 14 and 17 and go out with their friends at weekends. My eldest has always been very good at responding to calls and texts from me but my youngest forgets to charge his up. He has been much improved this last week now he knows I’m not being nosy I just want him to be able to contact me or others in an emergency.


Stephanie Roberts
Ysgol John Bright
Sensory Support, Specialist Teaching Assistant


Ms Debbie Tumbull
Dear Debbie
Thank you meeting with me at Llandudno on 28 June. It was extremely interesting and heartwarming
to listen to you talking about River and Sea Sense and it is clear that your personal
commitment and drive will endear you to manyan audience and ensure that your message is
both heard and understood.
I think this is a really positive initiativeand, together with the support of the agencies that you
already have on board, will I’m sure, prove to be a really successfulmethod of not only raising
awareness amongst children and young adults as to the real dangers of playing in and
around water but also increase safety and potentially save lives.
I know the catalyst for the initiativehas been your tragic loss but, as you say, Coos’s memory
will live on through your work and that of the scheme. The Conwy and Denbighshire
Community Safety Partnerships, of which North Wales Police is a member,work with many
agencies to ensure that the health, wellbeing and safety of children and young people is treated
as the highestpriority.Wediscussedwaysinwhichwe maybe ableto assistyourendeavours
and I can assure you of our support for the scheme.
Obviouslyengaging with children and young people requires you, and any supporters
involved, to have all the appropriate CRB checks, guidance and training and as such, I have
asked that a colleague discuss this aspect with you.
I wish you every success with this initiative and the otliciallaunch at the Emergency Services
Day Llandudno on 29 July.
Yours sincerely

Terry Kellaher




Debbie and I have known each other for some time. Our sons were, for a time, in the same form at Eirias High School and they were good friends.

We were on holiday in Mid Wales when we heard the terrible news of Chris’s tragic death and, although at the time I didn’t know Debbie or John I remember being horribly shocked and feeling such sorrow for them as parents. I know what an effect it had on my son, Olly,

I have, over the past 12 months, got to know Debbie well and to really respect the work she is doing in raising awareness of the dangers of playing near or on water both at sea and in rivers. She has worked tirelessly for various charities associated with water safety and the Ogwen Mountain Valley rescue, pretty much since Chris died.

Recently she came into the school where I teach( Llandrillo Primary School, Rhos on Sea) to speak to 60 year 6 pupils (age 10/11) She made an incredible impact on them and the room was silent for the whole time she was speaking to them . When she left they were buzzing with ideas and questions. They were enthused and also warned.

I can only say that I have seen at first hand Debbie’s organisational skills and her ability to communicate with young people. I feel that she has a real talent and passion for raising awareness of the dangers of rivers and water and I hope that through the relevant funding and support she will be able to carry on this good work.

Caroline Biltcliffe B.Ed. (Mrs)

Reference for Debbie Turnbull  –  River And Sea Sense

Over the past 5 years Debbie has been committed to delivering presentations in our primary and secondary schools across Conwy County about the dangers of water following the tragic drowning of her son at Capel Curig.  River and Sea Sense has developed into an established resource that is known throughout the county and recognised by teachers and parents alike as the essential Water Safety educational company.

When Debbie has delivered lessons for children in our primary schools the feedback has always been positive.  She seems to capture children’s hearts and bring out the best in them.   In secondary schools her talks in assemblies of up to 1400 pupils have been empowering and passionate – so much so that pupils have taken the time to approach Heads of Year to help and support RASS.  Feedback from teachers is very positive, encouraging and always in admiration of the work of River And Sea Sense.

At a recent meeting with Debbie I was impressed with her drive to take a huge leap forward with RASS in its development as a national organisation. Given Debbie’s commitment I have no doubt that this will be the case.  Debbie’s newest project, Safety Map, has been recognised by the local Police and Emergency Services and I’m sure that this new initiative will be a very useful tool in the development of future projects Debbie has in mind.

I have no doubt that Debbie has contributed to a greater awareness by young people of the inherent dangers of rivers and sea environments and as a consequence may have saved many lives in this time, and will do so for many years to come.

I recommend River And Sea Sense to any school or Youth Group and would welcome any request for reference of this very worthwhile organisation.

Yours sincerely

R Geraint James

Statutory Head of Education Services

Debbie Turnball Free 2 Network Awards 2012 Nomination Recommendation

Nina Sidar
Free 2 Network Awards 2012
9 Lon Pedr
LL30 1SS

Re. Free 2 Network Awards 2012 Nomination Debbie Turnbull

Dear Nina,

In relation to this year’s Awards I am delighted to be able to make the following submission in support of Debbie Turnbull receiving the ‘Free 2 Network – Resilience in Business Award 2012’.
Debbie has worked tirelessly for Water Safety issues for years now. Literally she is in a class of her own with her activities! Never allowing adversity to stop her progress, she continues to bring the vital messages to thousands of young people each year in schools and increasingly through using the modern internet technologies. As you will be aware the current state education in this area is woefully inadequate
Debbie continues to display resilience in her activities, we live in rapidly changing times – funding is difficult of course. Young people need to have the message; that it is great to enjoy the outdoors, but is should be done with the right knowledge and balance.
I feel that Debbie is a fantastic role model to other business people, that you can pick yourself up after difficult times and indeed turn a negative event into a situation where thousands of others can benefit and who knows how many lives can be saved.
So I am delighted to be able to nominate Debbie for this leading business award.

Yours sincerely

Paul Levy


School testimonials

Sue Williams 30th March 2011

Thank you so much. My daughter is a Year 7 pupil and she was very much struck by what you had to say and by your courage. Also, the children’s comments on here have shown just how much they have matured – hard to believe they were all at junior school this time last year. I cannot begin to imagine your loss but Chris must be very proud of you.

Rachel Sian Jones 9th February 2011

Thank you for giving me the opportunity – it was an amazing experience and I admire you for all you do for others – I look forward to helping out in the future and working with you. I hope your interview went well this morning also, Rachel xx

Hannah Jones 17th June 2011

Hello Debbie you came to our school a couple of months ago and i just wanted to say I have sent 84 ICE messages thank you for your inspiring talk! x p.s. i’m 12 you dont have to accept my request i just needed to find a way of telling you how many messages i have sent. x.

Charlotte Whiteheadposted 18th April 2011

Iv’e sent many ICE as i can hope it help xx Thank You for coming in our school Ysgol Dyffryn Conwy x We are all grateful xx Thank You x 😀 xx

Harrio Thomas 11th April 2011

ive sent 38 ices,i remember listening to your story about chris once at betws-y-coed primary school. i hope now after listening to chris’s story people will be more aware of the power of water.

Izzy Orpin 6th April 2011

thanx for coming to talk to us the other the day, i learnt a lot. you are doing really well so keep going! 🙂 xxx

Rhiannon Roberts 6th April 2011

Thanks for coming in to school today! It was really good listening about ur story! 🙁 xx

Sasha Rose Meredith 3rd April 2011

Thank youu for coming inn…Me and som others i now havr out as our status to like it andd Thank youu,you have showed us how dangerous it iss xx :O!!

Ella-louise Dodd 3rd April 2011

i was so very touched by your story at ysgol J.B last fri. Being a mum myself i had a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye. i think what u are doing is amazing, chris will be very very proud of u. all the very best to u xx

Caitlin Richardson 2nd April 2011

Thanks for coming to our school . i really appreciate it now i know how dangerous water can be . Im am very sorry to hear about your son but i think he will be very proud of you for what your doing xx

Emily Isaacs 2nd April 2011

Thank you for coming to our school x I am very sorry to hear about your son and I think what you are doing is amazing ! Your son would be so proud of you and other fundraisers. You made lots of people realise how dangerous water can be x I have sent out text to twenty people to put the contact I.C.E as there mum and dad. I will also put it as my status x Your amazing ! Well done and keep up the good work x

Ellen Richards 2nd April 2011

thank you for coming to our school i really have seen how dangerous water can be x imsoo sorry for wat happend to youre son and i will do an I.C.E to most of my contacts and i hope u do well with all youre fundraising xx thank you very much xx

Gabrielle Peace 2nd April 2011

thankyou sooo much for coming, sorry to hear about your son. now i no how dangers deep water can be, thanks again!! xxxx

Champ X Frost 1st April 2011

thank you for comin in it has made me relise how dangerous water can be! xx

Lauren Whitehead 1st April 2011

Thank you for coming to Ysgol John Bright today it made me realise how dangerous water can be!! i think you are a very inspirering woman and deserve all the fundraising money you can get i have done my I.C.E’s i sent it to 32 contacts so hopefully they sent it on too!! it was very upsetting about your son but i know its best to think about how greatfull he would be to know what we are all doing here today to help im sure he is watching you and feeling proud he will never be forgotten all though i never knew him i now feel like i do thanks to you i will always think of him before i ever consider doing things that may be dangerous in water thank you very much!! x

Carys Williams 30th March 2011

Thank you so much for coming to talk to us – it must be so hard for you and i really appriciate it xxx I never knew how dangerous lakes and rivers could be so thank you again xxx RIP chris xx

Hannah Hughes 30th March 2011

Thankyou for coming into our school yesterday. You are really inspiring, and Im so sorry about Chris. Like everybody eles has said, you have tought us the dangers. All the best xxx

Lara Swain 30th March 2011

thanks for coming in to speak to us yesterday, me and my friend Hana were almost crying. I’m so sorry about Chris, he sounds like he was a very lovely person. Good luck with RASS in the future, I did my I.C.E’s and I am so glad that I am aware of all the dangers now. Thanks so much you had a lot of courage xxx

Chloe Grogan 29th March 2011

debbie thanks for coming in to school today I remember when you came in to pen-y-bryn as I was young then I didn’t real understand all the heart ache u have had today was very touching and practicly all lunch me and my friend were crying as we felt so sad during that lesson I was crying my eyes out and I couldn’t possibly know how you felt to know u will never see your son again but I belive that if u die u cm bk xty

Noah Owen Gant 29th March 2011

thanks for coming in to day and talking about the hoffic accdident ! i think your very brave for coming in today and sharing that 🙂 it must of been really hard to tell that story. chris will all ways be in your heart. Thanks

Rebecca Frost 29th March 2011

Debbie, I think what you did today was beautiful! It must have been really hard for you to talk about Chris, but you did it wonderfully:) Im sure Chris would be very proud of you. What you said to me touched my heart and i have done everything you asked us to, for you and for Chris! I hope it all works out for you with River and Sea Sense:)xxxx

Hana Grove 29th March 2011

hi thanks debbie i was in the firt group that u teeched 2 day i thought it must have been so hard to com here after all u have been thru i will always think of u and chriss when i see a river or the sea
thank you debbie xx (:

Ella Wells-Percival 29th March 2011

thx for the speeh today as soon as we got out of class me and my friends were still trying not to cry xxxx so sorry to her about chris he will be really proud of you !!!!!!

Melanie Whiting 29th March 2011
my daughter told me about your visit to Eirias today. So sorry to hear about your son, as a parent I truly cannot imagine anything worse. Thank you so much for sharing your experience, you’re very brave x

Chloe Shilton 29th March 2011

thank you so much for today it has made me realise how risky water is ,you are so brave to talk to us about this. your son was a friend of my cousin and she thought you were so brave to cope with that . THANK YOU

Oonagh Cerys Davies 29th March 2011

U were amazing today! It touched all my friends and definately me . I know about water and the dangers . Doing my ICE’s in a moment and I will forward the text message to my friends xx I wish I have your strength and courage when I’m older 🙂 best wishes for the future xxx ♥

Beckie Bold 29th March 2011

Doing my Ice`s later♥, Touched by your story today you defentily had courage to come and speak to us about that.. Now weve all have sence knocked in us thanks to you (: Thankyou! And R.I.P Chris♥

Morgan Edwards

Guto Bebb