“There are no words”: Campaigning mum says she lights a candle every night for tragic teen Sam Haycock
A mum fighting to raise awareness of the dangers of swimming in open water says she was heartbroken after 16-year-old Sam Haycock drowned in Ulley Reservior.
Beckie Ramsay said she was utterly heartbroken by the tragedy nine years after her own teenage son who died in similar circumstances.
Beckie, 40, unveiled a throwline at Ulley four years ago, in memory of her son Dylan, who drowned in 2011.
She has dedicated her life to fighting to save young lives by making young people more aware of the dangers and is trying to get education on the subject on the National Curriculum.
But despite her campaign ‘Doing it for Dylan’, she says she feels let down by the response of those in power.
Beckie said: “I've spoken to Sams mum.
“I wanted her to know that she wasn't alone and there were people that cared.
“People who understood what she was going through. We've had quite lengthy chats.
“I'm not going to go into those because they are quite personal.
“I feel like I have been a little bit of a support to her. I hope I have.
“I've been lighting a candle for Sam every night.
“I've been speaking to his mum and I just hope things get a little bit easier for her.
“I know she's still in a state of shock and she is still very numb.
“I know from my own experience how she feels a week after losing a child.
“She's probably not in a good place. I would imagine.
“It's your child and nobody should outlive their child. There are just no words.
“I'm utterly heartbroken. Sam was one of six who died in seven days.”
Beckie says she felt an overwhelming sense of guilt.
“These children haven't been taught the dangers in and around waters.
“It's not part of the national curriculum, so how on earth are they supposed to know that that cold water could potentially kill them just by jumping in and that's what I've been fighting for.”
Dylan Ramsay was just 13 when he died while swimming in a quarry with his friends on a hot day nine years ago
“He shouted for help and then went under the water,” said Beckie.
“He was under the water for no more than three minutes and somebody pulled him out – but he was pronounced dead.
“From that moment. I knew instinctively that he couldn't have died for nothing.
“He was still special for that he was an amazing young man.
“He was one of a kind he was special his smile lit up every room.”
She said Dylan was a strong swimmer.
Just weeks following Dylan’s death Beckie was visiting schools spreading the message about the dangers of open water and launched her campaign, ‘Doing it for Dylan’.
She estimates she has spoken to around 170,000 people since then and she has been awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) for her work, all of which she funds herself.
Beckie recently presented a 15000 signature petition to the Government. She says she was disappointed by the response.
"It was no better than any email I've received from MPs over the years,” she said.
“There was not any more new information in it. It was just signposting you to different organisations.
“But unless you knew about these organisations. You wouldn't know to go to them.”
One of the first things Beckie campaigned following Dylan’s death was to install throw lines at Ulley reservoir because it was known that children leave on the last day of school and jump from the bridge.
“It's just tragic. I was told that years ago and we put those boards in place.
“It's a throw line in a locked cabinet. It's so sad that it wasn't able to save his life.
“But it's more sad that this was put in place because kids were doing this years ago.
“So, why is it not taught in schools especially in the area?
“Why are children not told before they reach year 11 that it's not a good idea?”
“And our Government responds to petition such as mine by saying they have no plans to change the national curriculum around water safety. I can't understand why we have 600 people a year die and they do nothing. Every death is like a kick in the stomach.”
She says the curriculum is not working as almost half the pupils who leave school can't swim 25m. One million kids lost out on lessons to swim last year because of the pandemic, which Beckie said would contribute to future drownings.
She says parents were “oblivious” to the risks of cold water on hot days.
“You might see it on the news now and again, but you don't think that it would happen to you or anything anyone you know.
“You don't think that could ever happen to anyone in your life in your family.
“It's not because you're stupid in any way, it’s because you're naive.
“If you teach your children to swim you think well, that's enough.
“My son learnt to swim. He was a really strong swimmer.
“It's not what let him down that day.
“I talk to all the mums and dads and we see the sun come out and we think oh, no, it's going to be another one of those days,” said Beckie.
“It's so ironic because I spoke to a reporter on the Friday two weeks ago.
“I said we're having a heatwave people are going to go to the beach, people are going to go out.
“And then Sam died and I just thought Oh my God.”