A mother whose teenage son died in a tragic drowning accident has backed a campaign to cut the number of water related deaths in Scotland.
Gillian Baker lost her 18-year-old son Cameron Lancaster when he drowned in a quarry in Fife in 2014 after carrying out an ‘ice bucket challenge’.
Mrs Baker, of Burntisland, has given her support to a new project aimed at slashing the number of drownings.
An average of 50 people accidentally drown every year across the country while around a further 29 take their own lives in and around waterways.
The Water Safety Scotland programme aims to halve the number of accidental deaths by 2026 while contributing to the reduction of water-related suicide.
The plan has been drawn up by experts from the Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK), the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA).
Other organisations taking part include local authorities, the NHS, water leisure groups, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and the Scottish Government.
Mrs Barclay said: “The loss of Cameron is the saddest and most difficult challenge I have ever faced.
“Cameron’s sister, brother and I became involved in water safety work because we want to help reduce the number of families and friends who face the horrific pain of losing a loved one to drowning.
“There is great work going on all the time to help people enjoy Scotland’s water while keeping themselves safe, and we need to keep making people aware of the risks around water.
“I’m very grateful to Water Safety Scotland for allowing me to help shape Scotland’s first Drowning Prevention Strategy from the perspective of someone who has lost a child in a drowning accident.”
The project hopes to Improve fatality incident data and intelligence across Scotland and promote learning to swim and water safety in all school ages.
They also plan to develop water safety across Scotland’s 32 local authorities and promote the development of water safety policies.
Michael Avril, chairman of Water Safety Scotland, said: “The launch of Scotland’s Drowning Prevention Strategy represents an important milestone in water safety within Scotland.
“The partnership approach that has been taken is proving to be key to the development of the strategy; this however only represents the foundation on which we must now work to turn the strategy into action. I would ask that everyone plays their part to help us save more lives in Scotland.”
Clare Adamson, MSP for Motherwell and Wishaw, said: “I am absolutely delighted to see Scotland’s Drowning Prevention Strategy launched.
“It fully reflects the partnership working that has been the hallmark of its conception and development. I fully endorse the aims of the strategy to reduce accidental drowning deaths and reduce water-related suicide.”
Cameron died in August 2014 while swimming in disused Prestonhill Quarry in Inverkeithing.
A campaign was later launched to have it filled in following the death of drama teacher Kelda Henderson, 36, who failed to resurface during a dive at the site.
She was the fourth person to die at the site.