Doing it for Dylan charity is launched by Chorley mother Beckie Ramsay who lost her teenage son to drowning
The motto of the charity is “Every life saved saves a family from a lifetime of heartache" and is supported by swimming star Sharron Davies
A mother who lost her 13-year-old son to drowning in a Lancashire quarry has launched a charity in his name in a bid to help others.
Beckie Ramsay from Chorley has spent the past 10 years since her son Dylan’s death tirelessly campaigning for greater awareness around water safety and particularly open water swimming.
What started off as a one-woman band on a shoestring budget which saw her travelling the country, working through the night and sleeping in her car to speak to schools, now has the backing of former Olympic swimmer Sharron Davies.
Beckie, who has spoken to more than 180,000 children and has been awarded the British Empire Medal for her work, said: “A couple of months ago I decided I wanted to be a charity and asked a few people on a whim.
"I continued to push my luck and asked Sharron Davies and was blown away, honoured and overwhelmed when she agreed to help."
The charity will support individual families, help fund counselling and therapy and create learning material and information packs for schools.
"It has set an initial fundraising target of £250,000 to fund three years of operations.
Beckie added: “This is what is lacking in our country - the help and support for bereaved families.
“I want to make sure other mums don’t have to go through this.
The motto of the charity is: “Every life saved saves a family from a lifetime of heartache.”
Says Beckie: “Hopefully we can go from strength to strength and educate more people on water safety.
"I want to reach worldwide with the proper funding and money behind me.”
Sharron Davies said: “Swimming is the most amazing sport that can be a life-saver and fun for all the family from cradle to grave.
"But, we have to respect the water and understand that terrible things can happen when we least expect them.
“Doing it for Dylan is a wonderful charity, raising awareness and helping with constructive ways so we can make sure everyone is more aware of water safety.”
Alongside Sharron, the committee includes David Walker, who leads the drowning prevention programme at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents.
The charity’s advisory board includes leading safety experts including businesswoman Suzy Orr (chairperson), headteacher Ashley Clayton, chartered accountant Pam Duxbury, IT expert Darren Bentham, retired firefighter/ water safety adviser Gary Willoughby and fundraiser Rachel Savchenko.
A talented athlete, Dylan, who was a pupil at Parklands High School in Chorley, was described by his mother as “a strong lad and a very capable swimmer,” but when he and two friends went swimming in Hill Top Quarry in Whittle-le-Woods one hot July Sunday, he got into trouble.
“They had been in the water for around 20 minutes, swimming around as hundreds of young lads do every single year,” said Beckie.
Dylan shouted for help and one friend called 999.
A group of men planning on diving there, saw his distress and ran down the hill, stripping off their clothes as they went to help him.
One pulled him onto a small island in the quarry and started to perform CPR until the emergency services arrived, but they were all too late. After having been under the water for just three minutes, he was pronounced dead.
“When I walked into that mortuary and saw my beautiful first-born son lifeless, not breathing, not moving just looking perfect, I could not hold myself together,” said Beckie.
“I hugged his chest and held him so tight. I sobbed and begged him to come back to us. I told him right there and then that I would not let his death be in vain.”
Poignantly, this Sunday, OICtober 17, would have been Dylan’s 24th birthday.
Beckie who describes water safety as her life now added: “It’s not been a great ride. It’s bitter-sweet as I would rather have my son back even for one hour.
“I am grateful to the press for their coverage of these stories. When drowning is just a few lines that is when we have a problem.
“Everyone deserves to be remembered.”