Doncaster grandma backs safety campaign

The family of Matthew Cartwright are campaigning to have safety signs erected near to the canal where he died. L-R are Matthew's grandmother Wendy Cartwright, grandfather Kevin Cartwright, and his aunty Claire Cartwright. Picture: Liz Mockler S0780LM
The family of Matthew Cartwright are campaigning to have safety signs erected near to the canal where he died. L-R are Matthew's grandmother Wendy Cartwright, grandfather Kevin Cartwright, and his aunty Claire Cartwright. Picture: Liz Mockler S0780LM
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The grandmother of a youngster who drowned in a South Yorkshire canal has spoken out in support of The Star’s Play Safe campaign.

Matthew Cartwright died after falling into the South Yorkshire Navigation Canal at Swinton in August 2011.

The eight-year-old, from Mexborough, was picking blackberries when he fell into the water and drowned because he could not swim.

His grandmother Wendy, Cartwright, aged 58, has spoken out after The Star revealed young people had been putting their lives at risk swimming in reservoirs and waterways including the River Don at Mexborough - just a mile from the stretch of water where Matthew met his tragic end.

She has echoed the pleas of police and firefighters - to ensure parents educate their children about the dangers of playing near open water, as part of the Play Safe campaign, which aims to keep children safe during the summer holidays.

Mrs Cartwright, of Conisbrough, Doncaster, said: “Even though it can be tempting to jump in the water on a hot day, please don’t.

She added: “People are needlessly risking their lives by doing this.

“The water may look warm but it is freezing underneath and there are undercurrents.

“Stay well away from the water and even the water’s edge. It is so easy to slip in.

“We are still devastated by what happened to Matthew and the last thing we want is another tragedy.”

Matthew’s family have campaigned to drill the safety message home since his death.

His grandma spoke out after police issued a warning after children were spotted swimming in an area of the River Don, known as ‘Pebble Beach’ - just a mile from where Matthew died.