Olympic swimming star Sharron Davies and Paralympic gold medallist Stephanie Millward join Chorley mum's water safety crusade

Water safety campaigner Beckie Ramsay has met with two swimming stars as she prepares to take her crusade to the Department for Education.

By Catherine Musgrove
Wednesday, 4th May 2022, 12:30 pm

Beckie's son Dylan died aged 13 in July 2011 after getting into difficulties swimming in Hill Top Quarry in Whittle-le-Woods.

>>>Click here for Dylan's story and Beckie’s campaign work

For almost 11 years, Beckie from Chorley has campaigned for greater awareness around water safety and particularly open water swimming, under the banner of Doing It For Dylan.

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She wants to make water safety education mandatory on the National Curriculum - and now Olympic gold medallist Sharron Davies and Paralympian Stephanie Millward are backing the plans.

Department for Education

Tomorrow (Thursday) Beckie will meet with the Department for Education to discuss her aims, after a petition on the matter gained more than 100,000 signatures.

She has been boosted by the input of Sharron and Stephanie, having had the chance to sit and talk with them in person last weekend – eight years after Sharron began supporting Beckie’s work with retweets and social media follows. The chance meeting for the three women occurred after Beckie was invited to London to meet with Stephanie and Lord Frank Woodford, chief executive of The Maritime Association.

L-R: Sharron Davies, Beckie Ramsay and Stephanie Millward

Afterwards, Beckie stayed overnight with Stephanie at her home in Bath, and after realising Sharron Davies lived nearby, sent her a message on social media.

"She replied saying she was going for a dog walk and would I like to join her. I didn't expect it at all, I was stunned.

"I met up with her the next day and all three of us ended up going to the coffee shop for two and a half hours.

"I felt like I'd known them all my life.”

Undated handout photo issued by Lancashire Police of Dylan Ramsay, 13, who drowned while swimming at the Hilltop Quarry in Whittle-le-Woods, near Chorley, on Sunday. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday July 4, 2011. See PA story POLICE Drowning. Photo credit should read: Lancashire Police/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.

Beckie said between them they have "big, big plans" for raising awareness of water safety, and are hoping to put a video together to be played in classrooms.

Beckie said: "They're coming at this from a different angle to me, and maybe because of their profiles, the kids will look at it differently.

"Going to speak to the Department for Education, it was also good to know what they thought was missing so that I'm fully covered, and they mentioned about the amount of pools closing."

She added: "Those two ladies really do want to make a difference. I've hit so many walls over the past nearly 11 years and it shouldn't have taken this long to get this far - but now I feel like we're really going somewhere, and on a different route with a lot of publicity."

Photo Neil Cross; Beckie Ramsay has been awarded a Parliament Award for campaigning on behalf of her son Dylan

Sharron Davies

Sharron Davies has also backed Beckie's plans to launch a charity in Dylan's name.

Announcing it late last year, Sharron Davies said: “Swimming is the most amazing sport that can be a life-saver and fun for all the family from cradle to grave.

"But, we have to respect the water and understand that terrible things can happen when we least expect them.

“Doing it for Dylan is a wonderful charity, raising awareness and helping with constructive ways so we can make sure everyone is more aware of water safety.”