A special course aimed at helping to reduce the number of people who die from drowning has been held in Andover.
Children from Andover’s Roman Way Primary School learnt some vital lifesaving skills at a water safety session, run by Andover Leisure Centre as part of the Royal Lifesaving Society’s water safety awareness campaign.
Each year, more than 400 people die from drowning and thousands more have near-death drowning experiences. And although swimming is a sport that can help save lives, worryingly, a massive 45% of children in the UK – aged seven to 11 – cannot swim.
It is hoped, however, by improving the skills and knowledge of people from a young age that the danger can be reduced.
Tammy Dewhurst, assistant manager of sport at the leisure centre, said: “The children had a fantastic time and have come out of the day with skills and safety knowledge that they will remember for a long time.
“We believe that it is vital that children are taught water safety from a young age.
“Shockingly drowning is the third highest cause of accidental death in children in the UK, so hopefully teaching these children can help towards bringing those statistics down.”
The 10 and 11-year-olds on the course played out real life lifesaving situations in the swimming pool.
Using rope, woggles and plastic containers, swimming teacher Cynthia Cannon and activity co-ordinator, Ben Thambipillai, taught the children how to keep themselves and other people safe in the water.