A MOTHER who lost her son from cold water shock has spoken of her fears that an influx of people heading to rivers once coronavirus restrictions are lifted will lead to further tragedy and other families torn apart.

Cameron Gosling, 14, from Crook, died of cold-water shock after jumping into the River Wear near Bishop Auckland, on July 5, 2015. The shock of the cold water caused his heart to stop.

The Northern Echo:

Since then, his mother, Fiona Gosling, she has done all she can to campaign in schools in County Durham about the importance of being safe around water.

Mrs Gosling, who is part of Durham County Council’s ‘Dying to be cool’ campaign, has spoken out of her concerns that people will be rushing to Durham’s lakes and rivers this summer, and how lockdown restrictions have prevented her visiting schools to get her message across.

In the campaign’s first three years, her assemblies had been delivered to more than 15,000 schoolchildren.

The Northern Echo: Fiona Gosling in front of a school assembly

Mrs Gosling said: “We do a lot of campaigning in schools on the topic, but because of the lockdown we haven’t been able to do that.

“We always put across a personal message because that sticks in the minds of the kids more.

“Last year we went round and put Cameron’s face on bridges and near rivers.

“This year my biggest fear is that there will be an influx of people that will descend on the rivers and the countryside.

“We need to get the message out to people and there could be so many call outs, we need to get the message out now.

“There are still groups of kids, even in lockdown, who play by rivers, its crazy that’s why we need to get the message out to them.

“My advice to people is go in slowly, don’t jump in and make sure your body can acclimatise to it.

“Cameron was a good swimmer; he was fit and healthy as soon as he hit that water his heart stopped.

“It was over in seconds and you really need to watch what you are doing, your friends and your children.

“A lot of people say this will never happen to them, but it can literally happen to anyone.”

Cold water shock is the body’s short term involuntary response to being suddenly immersed in cold water.

It causes a “gasp” response which can result in water being breathed rather than air, and feelings of panic. The results can be cardiac arrest or even death.

The Northern Echo:

Durham County Councillor Olwyn Gunn, Cabinet member for children and young people’s services ,said: “Let’s not forget the message of the Dying to be Cool campaign.

“We haven’t been able to go into schools but we need to keep talking about the dangers of jumping into rivers.

“The work of Durham County Council with Fiona and Carl Gosling and the County Durham and Darlington Rescue Team is as crucial as it’s ever been.

“The safety of children and young people is the priority for us all and nothing is more powerful than Fiona and Carl’s commitment to this work.

“We are all looking forward to warmth, sun and the freedom of outdoors.

“When that arrives we must never forget the hard hitting Dying to be Cool message that jumping into cold water can kill.”

To find out more about cold water shock and the campaign, visit the Dying to be Cool web page at www.durham.gov.uk/dyingtobecool