POTENTIAL life-saving training has been delivered to staff and volunteers at a County Durham park.

Throw-line tuition has been given to people working or volunteering at Chester-le-Street’s Riverside Park.

The training emerged from the formation of a water safety group in Chester-le-Street in response to an incident last year in which a young child was rescued from the River Wear, which flows through the park.

Teams from Durham County Council, including its Chester-le-Street Area Action Partnership, joined forces with partner bodies to set up the group.

These were County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service (CDDFRS), Durham Police and water safety campaigner Fiona Gosling, from Crook, whose son Cameron died from cold water shock after jumping into the River Wear near Bishop Auckland, in 2015.

The group arranged for fire and rescue service members to give a demonstration to park workers and volunteers of how to use throw ropes in the river.

This was to assist those working in the park should they ever be required to use the buoyancy aids located along the riverbanks.

In addition to the training, the group also designed a meeting point sign for park users should children get separated, complete with emergency numbers if needed.

This has since been installed by park management.

The group has also been organising assemblies in schools closest to the park, featuring Mrs Gosling, to educate children and young people of the dangers of swimming in the river.

Councillor John Shuttleworth, the county council’s cabinet member for community safety, said: “Riverside Park is a great place for people of all ages to come to enjoy themselves and we very much want that to continue.

“Incidents like the one last year are few and far between here but continuing to ensure those who visit this riverside environment do so in a safe fashion is of paramount importance to us.

“That is what the work we have been doing with the fire service, police and Fiona, is all about.

“We are really grateful to all our partners for working with us to deliver this potentially life-saving training to staff and volunteers at the park as well as the school assemblies which equip young people with awareness of how to enjoy riverside settings safely.”

Sarah Litt, community safety team leader at CDDFRS, said: “Knowing what to do in an emergency is important, it’s important to act fast as although the water looks inviting from the surface, it is still cold enough to induce cold water shock, not to mention the dangers lurking beneath that you cannot see from the surface.”

The fire service urges parents to never allow their children go near water without adult accompaniment and advise youngsters to never jump in or suddenly immerse themselves in cold water as the shock could kill.

Warning signs present should be followed and, in an emergency, help should be summoned verbally as well as by using the 999 emergency number, then asking for the fire and rescue service.