Heartbroken mum encourages others to tell their stories after losing her own son to drowning

A HEARTBROKEN mother has educated thousands of young people after her own son drowned in North Wales and is now encouraging others to tell their story.

Debbie Turnbull, of Holywell, lost her 15-year-old son Christopher 14 years ago to drowning at Capel Curig.

Despite being an excellent swimmer, heavy rainfall came down from the mountains, creating a huge waterfall.

After going out with five friends, he had sat on a ledge putting his thumbs up for a photograph when he fell into a whirlpool.

North Wales Chronicle:

Debbie told the Leader that was the day that ‘hell hit home’.

Since that day on August 14, 2006, Debbie – founder and MD of RASS River and Sea Sense LTD – has educated over 450,000 young people in schools across North Wales and Ireland.

Debbie has now created – The Near Miss Network and is looking for stories written or videos of people who have been rescued by others or our emergency and rescue services.

She has created this to support her new online education platform – RASS Online – which will support her 14 years of water safety work.

North Wales Chronicle:

However, due to Covid19 Debbie has been so far unable to fulfil her work in schools and feels therefore that this is a necessary move forward to help educate both parents and young people.

She added: “This year has had a huge number of incidents in open water across the UK and fatalities which is like re-living my own experience.

“It is my own desire that CPR and more extensive water safety education be available not only for young people but also parents and grandparents and with The Near Miss Network I feel that by providing ‘good news stories’ people will learn from the information and real life stories.

“I tell my story the only way I can honestly and truthfully – I also talk of my journey from losing my son to where I am now and why you must love yourself and live each day as your last.

Debbie is also asking for support in completing a brief survey form which will enable her determine the future of RASS – www.riverandseasense.com due to Covid19 restrictions and the necessity for her real life online strategy.

She said: “I am also a Professional Speaker at Conferences across the UK and Ireland as to the dangers of open water. Telling my story helps educate both parents and children and enables them to learn by my teaching techniques using visualisation and many modalities proven over the past almost 14 years since Chris died.

North Wales Chronicle:

“Featuring in National Press TV Radio and the amazing opportunity to speak in Parliament plus winning a Points Of Light Award from the then Prime Minister Theresa May due to winning The National Lottery Special Achievement Award in 2017 presented by Bear Grylls for my work has enabled me to reach many parents and young people and now the urgency of my message has never been more apparent.

“So, if you would like me to speak in your group event or to advise you how to educate your child as to the dangers of open water and Cold Water Shock and indeed how to survive adversity then do contact me.”

More information can be found on the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/groups/3277288428970511/?ref=share or Twitter @debsbarmyarmy.

North Wales Chronicle | Anglesey