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Grief stricken mum Beckie is still Doing It For Dylan

Beckie Ramsay with a picture of her son, Dylan

Beckie Ramsay with a picture of her son, Dylan

 

Proud mum Beckie Ramsay should be supporting her son Dylan as he sits his GCSE exams and looks forward to leaving high school.

But instead, it is another milestone she will miss.

For Dylan died in 2011 at a quarry in Whittle-le-Woods, aged just 13.

Ever since, Beckie has been working tirelessly to promote water safety and launched the Doing It For Dylan campaign in his memory.

And she has now won a new award presented by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA).

Beckie, 34, said: “When I collected the award, I thought, ‘I shouldn’t be collecting this award, I should be worrying about whether Dylan had done enough revision for his GCSEs.’

“He should be leaving school now and going on to pastures new.

“I know he was going to be somebody really special. Everything pointed that way.”

Beckie, of Church Hill, Whittle-le-Woods, describes Dylan as “really bright” and said he reached every milestone before expected, even as a baby.

He represented his school in sporting events and won a top award for achievement at primary school.

As a pupil at Parklands High School, reports at parents’ evenings were “outstanding”, he loved sport and had many friends.

Beckie bursts with pride as she talks about her eldest son.

She said: “As a mum, it will sound like I’m being biased because every mum thinks their child is perfect.

“It doesn’t matter if you speak to me or one of his friends, everyone would say similar things about him.

“There are not enough nice words in the dictionary to describe him. No words can do him justice.”

But her heart was broken on July 3, 2011, when she received a phone call from her husband, Jdee, to say Dylan had been in an accident.

Beckie had been at a football match and rushed to Hill Top Quarry to see what had happened.

She said: “I thought he had a broken bone or a broken back and thought about all the worst things it could be, but never did I think he could have died.”

Police pulled over the car she was travelling in, as it was being driven erratically in the rush to get there, and Beckie was taken to the quarry in a police car.

When they arrived, there was a police cordon in place and a crowd had gathered.

It was then that Jdee told his wife their son had died.

“I screamed at the top of my voice. My harrowing scream will probably live with a lot of people for a long time. I collapsed at that point,” Beckie said.

Dylan had jumped into the water on the warm, sunny day, but began to struggle, despite being a strong swimmer.

And that was what led Beckie to launch a water safety campaign.

She was determined to make sure that other young people knew the dangers of swimming in outdoor water and that other families did not go through what she had.

She said: “The day Dylan died, that night on the news reports, I said it was ridiculous. Dylan was an amazing swimmer and it shouldn’t have happened.

“I knew at that point that I was going to do something. The next day, I realised that if no-one else is going to do it, then I had to do it.

“I have to make sure that Dylan didn’t die in vain.

“I have to make sure that other people live because Dylan died. I have to make sure that his name and his memory lives on.

“When you feel that kind of pain - and you really wouldn’t wish it on your worst enemy – if there’s something you can do then you have to do it.”

By mid-July, Beckie had already contacted Parklands High School – where her son had been a pupil – and gone in to talk to children about water safety.

She said: “It was terrifying. I shook like a leaf all the way through. I could hardly get through it but I did.”

That first talk, in the same month that Dylan died, was the beginning of Beckie’s water safety campaign, Doing It For Dylan.

When pupils returned to school in September after the summer holiday, she gave more talks at schools.

Three years later, Beckie still spends much of her time visiting schools to talk to pupils.

She adjusts the presentations depending on the age of the children, but admits that her talks to pupils from year nine and above are “hard hitting”.

It is not just school children that are given the talks, but also university students, adults and professionals such as chief fire officers.

More than 1,500 people around the world have “liked” Beckie’s Facebook page, also named Doing It For Dylan, and she has received a message of support on Twitter from Olympic swimmer Sharron Davies.

She has also appeared in a water safety video for Greater Manchester Fire And Rescue Service.

Beckie said: “Since I started I have probably spoken to 20,000 people.”

It was her tireless campaigning that led to her being given the Archangel Award, the highest accolade in the Guardian Angel Awards presented by charity RoSPA.

Beckie received a standing ovation as she was given the award earlier this month at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole Hotel.

She said: “It was nice to be recognised. It’s kind of bitter sweet though. I don’t want to be doing what I’m doing for the reasons I’m doing it.”

Beckie is going to continue giving free talks and promoting her campaign.

She has also launched a competition for people to design a poster, danger sign, poem, song, short film or anything else to highlight water safety.

There are various age categories, with prizes on offer, and the deadline is June 21, the start of Drowning Prevention Week.

Beckie said: “It can be anything that will raise awareness of the dangers of swimming in outdoor water, however people feel they can get the message across.”

Beckie is determined to keep going with her campaign and is considering registering it as a charity.

She also has a long-term goal of having a house, named Dylan’s Den, where grieving families could go.

Beckie said: “By doing what I am doing, it keeps Dylan alive to me.”

As well as having a legacy to Dylan, Beckie hopes she will prevent others getting into trouble in open water.

She is encouraging parents to be aware of the risks and to talk about them with their children.

As well as drowning, the dangers include cold water shock, seizures, cramps, slippery embankments, underwater debris, under-currents and pollutants.

Beckie says she had never received any outdoor water safety information for Dylan or his three siblings – Stephen, now 13, Josh, 12, and Annie, seven.

Beckie said: “I want children to realise just because the sun is hot outside, the water isn’t. Outside water is stronger.

“It’s not worth the risk and putting your family through the pain.”

To find out more about Doing It For Dylan or to enter Beckie’s competition, email her at beckieramsay@hotmail.com, go to www.facebook.com/doingitfordylan, or follow @missmybabyboy on Twitter.

 

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