Canal safety campaign after death of boy, 8

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A PETITION with 800 names calling for safety improvements on the canal where schoolboy Matthew Cartwright died was presented to British Waterways staff at a meeting attended by his relatives.

Matthew, aged eight, from Windhill Terrace, Mexborough, died after falling into the South Yorkshire Navigation canal in Swinton last month.

The petition calls for the spot where he fell to be fenced off.

Worried parents suggested clearing vegetation to make the edge of the canal clearer. People called for lifebelts to be available on the bank but others feared they may be stolen.

Rotherham councillor for Swinton and Kilnhurst Ken Wyatt invited British Waterways to the meeting.

He said: “Matthew’s death was a terrible incident, which has let people shocked and the community stunned. I want to pay tribute to the residents who made their case with great dignity. Among the comments from the police, fire service, and British Waterways was that the message had to be education, education, education about the dangers of the canals.”

British Waterways said they would follow any recommendations made by the coroner.

Coroner Nicola Mundy has opened an inquest. Inquiries are continuing.