The mother of a teenager who died after jumping into a river has received County Durham’s highest honour in recognition of her water safety campaigning.
Fiona Gosling’s 14 year old son Cameron Gosling died during a day out with friends in summer 2015, having jumped in to the River Wear near Bishop Auckland without having acclimatised his body to the water temperature.
Mrs Gosling, who lives at Crook, has since worked closely with the Safe Durham Partnership on its Dying to be Cool campaign which seeks to raise awareness, particularly among ten to 16 year olds, of previously little known ‘cold water shock’ which claimed her son’s life.
She has now been awarded Durham County Council’s Chairman’s Medal, which is given to individuals or groups in recognition of services to County Durham.
Mrs Gosling was nominated for outstanding service to the young people of County Durham in relation to water safety education and awareness.
This was in recognition of her continued support for Dying to be Cool which to date has seen her telling Cameron’s story to more than 3,360 schoolchildren in campaign assemblies organised by the council’s One Point Service.
Mrs Gosling has also appeared in a Dying to be Cool video which has reached a million people online and supported water safety sessions which were delivered to 160 schoolchildren by the council last summer.
Council chairman Cllr Eddie Bell said: “Once Mrs Gosling was put forward, I had no hesitation in agreeing – she is without doubt one of the most worthy recipients in the history of the medal.
“Her tireless campaigning has ensured important safety messages have reached a massive audience, reducing the chances of further loss of life and injury and we should all be grateful to her for that.”
Mrs Gosling said: “I do not want any family to have to endure what we have gone through and that has and always will be my motivation.
“I am humbled to receive the Chairman’s medal and would like to thank everyone who has joined me in spreading the word about water safety and cold water shock.”
Mrs Gosling, whose son attended Parkside Academy at Willington, has also campaigned with the Royal Life Saving Society and set up the Campaigning for Cam petition to get water safety added to the National Curriculum.
Cold water shock is the body’s short term involuntary response to being suddenly immersed in cold water. It can cause cardiac arrest and even death.
The Safe Durham Partnership includes representatives from Durham County Council, Durham Constabulary and County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service.