Firefighter who searched for Sam Haycock shocked as kids spotted playing near River Rother

A firefighter involved in the search for a teenage boy who died after getting into difficulty in Ulley Reservoir has issued a warning about open water swimming.

By Claire Lewis
Monday, 7th June 2021, 10:43 am

Sam Haycock, aged 16, lost his life in the reservoir at Ulley Country Park on Friday, May 28.

A huge search and rescue operation involving multiple agencies was mounted after frantic friends raised the alarm to report him missing.

The youngster, who attended Oakwood High School in Rotherham, had just finished Year 11 and Headteacher Chris Eccles said friends with him at the time had made ‘gallant efforts’ to save him but ‘were unable to prevent him from drowning’.

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Sam Haycock died after getting into difficulty in the water at Ulley Country Park

Mark Murphy, a firefighter involved in the search and rescue operation, has shared a Facebook post in which he warns about the dangers of open water swimming.

In a ‘message to parents’, Mark said he was prompted to write his post after spotting a group of young children playing alongside the River Rother at Waverley just a few days after Sam’s death.

He said they told him that around 100 youngsters were jumping off a jetty into the water at nearby Treeton Dyke.

He said: “I'm writing this post so hopefully you pass on to your kids the dangers of open water swimming.

“I attended as a firefighter the very sad incident at Ulley reservoir, where a 16-year-old lad drowned.

“Today, Bank Holiday Monday, I walked my dog down the side of the River Rother at Waverley to find a handful of 10-12 year-old lads down at the riverside, one lad had no socks on and had clearly been in the water.

“I explained the dangers and told them about the sad incident at Ulley. One of the lads told me there was around 100 kids jumping off the jetty at Treeton Dyke. I passed this information on to the local authorities.

“Be safe people, especially in the hot weather.”

An online fundraising page has been set up following Sam’s shock death, with nearly £3,000 donated so far.

Organiser, Theresa Glenn, said the fundraising appeal is to support Sam’s family ‘through this heartbreaking time’.

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