Hertfordshire pupils to get vital life-saving water safety advice at memorial event

Published: 11 Mar 2019

Over 100 secondary school pupils will learn water safety skills at the Robbie Lea Water Safety Partnership Engagement Event – an initiative set up in memory of the teenager who tragically drowned in May 2017.

The second annual Robbie Lea Water Safety event is being held at former Olympics venue - the Lee Valley White Water Centre in Waltham Abbey on Thursday 21 March, involving Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue and a host of partner organisations.

Inspired by Robbie’s mother Sarah Doe’s drive to raise awareness of the dangers of swimming in open water, this award-winning partnership brings together a diverse range of organisations to promote water safety education.

During Thursday’s event pupils will participate in a series of water safety based scenarios and demonstrations from the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, Hertfordshire Police and Hertfordshire Boat Rescue, Lee Valley White Water Centre and Lee Valley Regional Park Authority, as well as Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue.

The partnership was awarded ‘Innovation in Public Service and Community Focus’ award at the Hertfordshire Constabulary Chief Constable Awards and also received the ‘Community Safety Initiative of the Year’ accolade at last year’s HEART awards.

Deputy Cabinet Member for Community Safety, Colin Woodward said: “This award-winning partnership is providing vital life-saving safety advice to hundreds of young people, while driving home the dangers of swimming in open water.

“The tragic death of Robbie Lea shows just how perilous local waterways can be and we applaud Robbie’s mother Sarah and this partnership, for their continued drive and determination to prevent any more young people losing their lives in this way.

“This successful initiative has engaged over 4,000 young people through assemblies and practical water safety demonstrations at secondary schools throughout the Borough of Broxbourne, which is a fitting legacy for Robbie and his family.”

As part of their training, students will be given a land-based scenario to remind them of the key things they need to remember when calling 999 in an emergency. They will also be shown lifesaving and swimming techniques and watch experts teaching water rescue techniques.

As well as learning about the hidden dangers lurking in wild water, students will have the opportunity to enter the venue’s man-made lake under supervision to see how deceptively cold British water bodies can be.