New signs at reservoir where Thomas died

Tragic death: Thomas Barton was just 15 when he died at Birkacre Brow
Tragic death: Thomas Barton was just 15 when he died at Birkacre Brow
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New safety signs have been put in place at the spot where a teenager drowned.

Thomas Barton, 15, died at Birkacre Brow, part of the Yarrow Valley Country Park in Chorley, in May this year.

He was out playing with friends when he decided to cool off in the reservoir during a heatwave.

Now, new signs have been put up in the park after an inquest determined signs in place at the time of his death were ‘not clear.’

Thomas’s dad Simon, of Tansley Avenue, Coppull, said he was glad the risks were now being taken seriously.

He said: “We are all still trying to come to terms with what happened.

“What is important for us now is trying to make sure something like this doesn’t happen to another family.

“The new signs are definitely big enough and I just hope people take notice of them now.

“I think for a short while they probably will do, but kids being kids, you just don’t know. All you can do is hope for the best.”

Thomas was with a group of six friends on May 27 when five of them decided to cool off in the reservoir, which is owned by Chorley Council.

The group swam towards a platform in the middle of the reservoir, with four of them reaching it, but Thomas began to struggle.

His friends went back into the water to help but Thomas began thrashing and dragging them under. Fearing for their own lives, they had to let go.

Thomas was pulled from the water just after 11pm by underwater search crews.

Dad Simon, an HGV driver, said: “The council is doing its best, so I can’t knock them.

“The new signs are definitely big enough, but they are not too obtrusive.

“We just have to hope people respect that and take notice of what has happened.”

Signs have also been put up at other larger bodies of water such as Croft Lodge, Brinscall, and Common Bank, Chorley.

Coun Alistair Bradley, leader of Chorley Council, said: “We have looked at what we can do to raise awareness and improve water safety across our parks.

“One of the key things has been to improve the signage warning of the dangers of open water.

“Large signs have been put in place at Yarrow Valley Country Park at all the main access points to the Big Lodge.

“We hope that they help prevent people going into the water during the summer and also to keep people off the ice should we get a freezing winter.”