"It's heartless": Chorley mum who dedicates her life to teaching water safety following son's tragic death has all her equipment stolen
Rebecca Ramsay teaches water safety, using the now stolen equipment, in memory of her son, Dylan.
A Chorley mother who lost her 13-year-old son to drowning, and has since dedicated her life to teaching water safety, has had all her teaching equipment stolen.
Dylan Ramsay tragically died in 2011 while swimming with friends in Hill Top Quarry, Whittle-le-Woods, and his mother, Rebecca, has spent the past decade campaigning for water safety, and going around schools, colleges, and workplaces teaching them about its importance.
However on Monday night, the mum of four was out at a Dappy concert with her daughter in Manchester when she returned to her car to find it broken into and its contents stolen, which included most of the equipment she uses for her 'Doing it for Dylan' campaign.
Rebecca told the Post: "I always have my Doing it for Dylan stuff in the back of the car, but we went to the boot and everything had gone, like literally everything, all my props that I use in schools, throw bags, throw line target practices, and life saving wetsuits, drysuits, buoyancy aids, life jackets, anything that I have used to show schoolchildren and make it a little bit more interactive and it's things that I've acquired over ten years.
"I suppose the most irreplaceable thing they've took is the letters I keep with my Doing it for Dylan stuff, off people that I've spoken to, so teenagers might message me back and be like you've been inspirational today, or say how I've helped them in their life, and I read them before I do a presentation sometimes, if I'm struggling a little bit that gives me the motivation that I need in that situation."
Besides the water safety props, the other stolen items included a Manchester Fire and Rescue grey fleece, one of her husband's coats, and Doing it for Dylan pop up banners, posters and wrist bands, although the thieves did leave behind her spray for a heart condition and a photo of Dylan, which they had damaged.
Rebecca added: "It really is heartless, it's senseless, it's mindless, there's absolutely no need for it, there's no monetary gain.
"The stuff is priceless to me but it's all worthless to anybody else, nobody's going to be selling it on the black market, in fact, it's going to be a hindrance to somebody because they're going to want to get rid of it now, and my plea is for them to not just dispose of it, or burn it, but hand it in somewhere safely, or drop me a message and I'll go pick it up, that will be the end of it.
"I'm not even looking for criminal charges if I can get my stuff back. If I can't get my stuff back, then the alternative is I will get the CCTV footage and I'll do everything I can to try and get these people done for endangering lives and for theft of life saving equipment, because ultimately, that is what they've stolen."
Yesterday, Rebecca posted about the incident on Facebook in what she called "a heart felt plea" for the return of the items, and says she was overwhelmed by the support she received, which in turn has made her feel more optimistic about building up her equipment again.
The open water safety activist said: "When I started I didn't have anything, it was me, myself and a pen drive, and that's basically where I'm gonna have to go back to, start from the start, but already, I'm seeing absolutely amazing people and amazing things happen, and it's quite overwhelming actually, how people come together in these times."
As well as Rebecca's original post being shared nearly 600 times on Facebook, a woman from Canada, who was so moved by Rebecca's post, despite not knowing her, has also set up a GoFundMe to help replace the stolen goods, which has already raised £950 in less than a day.
Rebecca commented: "To think that somebody from Canada has picked up on it, is amazing, and she just sent me a message saying somebody had donated £100 and I'm like wow! Then Byron from the JJeffect also contacted me saying, 'listen, you've got friends, you don't need to be going down the gofundme route, I'm going to help you out', and out of the kindness of his heart, he's offered to give me a laptop!
"The public have been absolutely astounding, I can't believe the messages of support, I mean the odd few have said they hope they get what's coming to them, but I'm not like that, I don't wish badness on anybody, I just want the stuff back. And if it's not possible, then, so be it, at the end of the day, me and my daughter made it home safe. You know, it was half past 12 at night, and it was two girls, so it could have been a very different outcome, and that's the way I'm trying to look at it, because if I look at it the other way, I'm just gonna think, 'wow, 10 years down the pan' but I don't want to think like that, because that doesn't make my campaign or my charity work, I make my charity work."
Rebecca asks anyone who lives or works close to the Oxford Street NCP car park in Manchester and has CCTV footage to look over it.
To find out more about the work Rebecca does with Doing it for Dylan, visit the Facebook page.