I gave birth to Dylan when I was 17 years old. After a 23 hour labour I looked in to my babies eyes and promised him I would love him unconditionally. Protect him until my last breath and always be there for him.
Dylan was like most children he had lots of friends & his transition from nursery to school was a smooth one as Dylan loved to learn. He seemed to soak up information like a sponge. He loved reading, swimming, watching films and documentaries.
Exploring the outdoors was one of his favourite things to do. His taste in music was that of such older person he loved so many different genres. That never changed as he grew so did his taste in music , books and films.
Dylan had a great primary school life involving himself in many out of school activities. Dylan was one of 4 children by the time he went to high school he had 2 younger brothers and a little sister. We as a family had the perfect life. We never had much but never really wanted much either we had everything we needed under one roof a healthy happy family.
Fast forward to starting high school. Dylan was asked to attend a young and gifted program which the school run. Children showing signs of being gifted were invited to go to France for a few days. Dylan jumped at the chance but I was worried as we had never been so far apart he was a proper family lad. Dylan loved learning about his heritage being half Scottish he loved to tell people about his Scottish side.
High school was great for Dylan he thrived and went from strength to strength. He became very popular and had so many friends. Again he took part in after school activities and was asked to represent his school at district level in years 7 & 8.
He was put forward for 6 events over the 2 years and out of the 6 there was only one which he didn’t win which was the relay race.
As he turned in to a teenager he loved free running he would do a back flip anywhere he ran up walls and did some amazing tricks. I often told him to be careful as it’s a pretty dangerous thing to be involved in but he lived it and was always smiling if he had a crowd watching him.
Dylan carried on working hard and was invited for the 2nd time to attend the young and gifted program. Again he visited France and again I had a weekend of no sleep longing for his return.
Not long before entering year 9 on a red hot sunny day in July Dylan & 2 friends decided to go swimming in a local quarry. They had been there for around half an hour and been in the water for around 20 minutes swimming around hundreds of young lads do every single year. After being in the water for around 20 minutes Dylan shouted for help at least 3 times. One friend called 999 and went for help.
At this point a group of polish men were coming to the quarry to go diving. Because of the language barriers they though Dylan was shouting hello at first. The moment they realised Dylan was needing help they ran down the hill stripping off their clothes. One of the men pulled Dylan to a small island in the quarry and started to perform CPR. CPR was administered until the emergency services arrived yet upon arrival very little was done by paramedics before pronouncing Dylan dead.
(I can’t get my head round this don’t think I ever will. Usually people are taken to hospital and more doctors would try to resuscitate think on Dylan was under water for no more than 3 minutes. I believe they are not allowed to pronounce a person dead until they are warm and dead now).
My husband had been put in a police van at the top of the quarry while paramedics worked on Dylan.
I arrived at the quarry and my husband had been let out to tell me my son had passed away. I screamed I say screamed but really the noise that came out of my mouth that day was much
more than a scream it’s a sound I did not know a person could make.
I asked to go in the ambulance with my son. I was in shock but I wanted to talk to him tell him I loved him and most of all spur him on to live. I will never no if hearing my voice would have made a difference to my son’s outcome. As I was not allowed to be with him as he was transferred to Preston hospital.
As a family we was allowed to formally identify his body at around 6 o’clock over 2 hours after his passing.
When I walked into that mortuary and saw my beautiful perfect first born son lifeless not breathing not moving just looking perfect I could not hold myself together I hugged his chest and held him so tight I sobbed and begged for him to come back to us. I told him right there and then that I would not let his death be in vain.
I would give anything to have known then what I do now. I am certain that had I known the dangers in and around open water or had Dylan known how cold water affects the body he would still be with us now.
He would be 24 this year.
3 minutes Dylan was under water for.
After losing Dylan I immediately felt compelled to share the knowledge I was learning daily….I mean if I didn’t know and Dylan didn’t know then how did anyone else know.
I started visiting schools to share my story and before long I was working alongside many emergency services. I was talking in schools, colleges, universities at clubs any group that would have me.
I was speaking to the press often and my speaking skills were getting better I was becoming more confident. I would address members of the public & anyone who would listen really.
A few years into my campaign I started to receive local awards, which soon turned into national ones. I received the archangel award from ROSPA I was asked to turn the respect the water lights on for RNLI. I’ve worked alongside numerous companies and emergency services. I received the BRITISH EMPIRE MEDAL from the queen and met Prince William to launch the safer Thames campaign.