Teenagers whose summer trip to a river ended in tragedy have spoken about it in a bid to prevent further loss of life.
On a hot summer’s day in July 2015, close pals Cameron Gosling, Laura Cowan, Matty Wraith, Ellis Hanley and Kian Johnson decided to make the most of the glorious weather and headed down to the River Wear at Witton Park near Bishop Auckland.
However, it was a venture from which Cameron would never return.
The 14 year old, who lived at Crook, jumped into the river without acclimatising and the cold temperature of the water caused his body to go into shock which caused him to drown.
Now, Cameron’s friends have spoken about what happened that day in order to raise awareness of ‘cold water shock’ with the aim of stopping people jumping into rivers and other water courses without getting their body used to the lower temperature.
Laura, Matty, Ellis and Kian appear in videos made by Durham County Council as part of the Safe Durham Partnership’s Dying to be Cool campaign, which is seeking to educate ten to sixteen year-olds on cold water shock.
In the videos, made with the support of Cameron’s family, the friends of the student of Parkside Academy at Willington share their memories of him, including his love of riding his scooter at a skate park at Glenholme Park near his home.
They also speak about life without Cameron and pass on advice to fellow teenagers who might be tempted to cool off in rivers this summer.
The videos will be released on the council’s social media channels in the coming weeks.
Cllr Lucy Hovvels, the council’s Cabinet member for community safety, said: “We are so grateful to Laura, Matty, Ellis and Kian for taking part in these videos.
“To lose a friend at any age is difficult but to do so at such a young age – it is impossible to comprehend what the last two years must have been like for them.
“It is a real credit to them that they have been willing to take part in this campaign to raise awareness of this condition which claimed the life of their friend and hopefully what they have to say will stay with young people and help them make the right decisions around water.”
Cameron’s mum Fiona Gosling, who has spearheaded the Dying to be Cool campaign, added: “Cameron was really close to Laura, Ellis, Kian and Matty and they have shared in the pain myself, his dad and brothers have experienced since he died.
“It is amazing that they have taken part in these videos to teach people about cold water shock and I’m sure Cameron would be really proud of them.”
To find out more about cold water shock and Dying to be Cool, visit www.durham.gov.uk/dyingtobecool