Editor: Everyone has to listen and play their part to stop tragedy

The row over whether swimming should be allowed at Crookes Valley Park has been raging ever since the sun first showed its face this year.

Tuesday, 20th July 2021, 6:54 am
Crookes Valley Park always attracts crowds in the sun but the water is not safe.

We have written scores of stories on what has proven to be a very divisive topic and yet here were are again, heartbroken over the second unnecessary drowning to hit our region in just a few weeks.

I hope the family of the young man who lost his life on Sunday evening are receiving the support they will most certainly need and I hope those who were with him when tragedy struck are also be cared for by those around them.

What devastating news for everyone in the city. Yet, heartbreakingly, as with all six of the awful drownings that took place up and down the country over the weekend, it is not likely to be the last.

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That is why the emergency services – the brave men and women who have to undertake the awful task of searching for bodies and then informing loved ones of their devastating loss – are steadfast in their plea for people to keep out of the water.

The council has also not changed its stance on the matter. It is not safe, it will never be safe and everybody who enters the water is taking an enormous risk.

Yesterday, while there were less people in the water, there were still far too many. And lots say nothing will put them off, which you have to believe when they are swimming just a few hours after a body was removed from the same spot.

I understand that the risk is not as great for very strong swimmers, that ‘free swimming’ is hugely popular at the minute and that there might be less danger if you swim with an organised group. But none of that makes it completely safe and, actually, what message are they giving to others who are all too likely to follow their example?

Are we really expecting the teenager stood on the waterside with their mates to be the sensible one who says, just because it is ok for you doesn’t mean it is ok for me? Or should it be the other way round?

What this city does best is pull together when needed – and it is certainly needed now. There are other, safe places to swim and there is no reason great enough to enter that water. Not for me, you or anyone. A united front will save lives.