Children warned of dangers of jumping in rivers
- Credit: Archant
Primary school pupils were warned of the dangers of jumping into rivers and drains during hot weather.
Pupils from Ten Mile Bank and Hilgay schools toured the Denver Complex and were given safety talks.
The programme was started by Mary Pryor an ex-deputy head teacher and volunteer lock keeper at the Denver, after she saw groups of young people jumping off a bridge into the river.
Ms Pryor said: "It seemed absolutely critical to educate children about the risks of jumping in rivers. With children much older it's harder to change their behaviour but if we educate the younger ones we may start to see a change.
"People need to understand the importance of our waterways and the technical craft it takes to manage it.
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"It's a 24-hour job for the environment agency officers who manage and control vast areas of water to keep our towns safe from flooding."
Dan Pollard, the Environment Agency's sluice keeper, led the safety talks.
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Mr Pollard, who has lived at the complex for more than 13 years stressed the importance of the management of the waterway system and why children should be safe.
Mr Pollard said: "Over the last three to four years a lot more children, particularly teenagers, are taking more risks.
"There are dangers of swimming in colder river water if below 15 degrees and the shock of jumping or falling in could pose a real threat to someone."
Other factors raised over the dangers of jumping in rivers included the steep and slimy banks, litter, cars, trolleys and building material- which is often found in the waterways.
Mr Pollard said: "Some 400 people every year drown across the UK because they don't know what dangers to look out for."
Children were taken on boat rides around the complex to illustrate to them why jumping in could be such an issue.
Ms Pryor said: "I understand that the natural reaction on a hot day is to jump into water to cool down but we're asking for them to be sensible and to keep away from unsafe waterways.
"Especially with this hot weather and with holidays coming up children are going to be out taking risks and I want them to know how to be safe."