Drownings prompt a new safety plea

Ann Croston of Platt Bridge with a picture of her son, Craig

Ann Croston of Platt Bridge with a picture of her son, Craig

A Wigan mum whose son drowned in a quarry almost 20 years ago has renewed her calls for tougher safety measures after two teenagers died this week.

Ever since 17-year-old Craig Croston died in Appley Bridge’s East Quarry in 1999, his mother Ann has been campaigning to ensure the site is properly secure and to highlight the dangers of swimming in open water.

Miracle Godson

Miracle Godson

In the same week that 16-year-old Curtis Atherton drowned after getting into difficulty in a pool in Teesdale, County Durham, and Rafael Pizarro, 13, died in a canal in Rochdale, Ann says she is determined to make sure youngsters take heed of safety warnings.

She said: “I know teenagers are still entering the quarry in Appley Bridge, at all hours of the day and night.

“In the evenings it is even more dangerous as temperatures plummet.

“I just wish the owners would put a security fence there.

“If I won the lottery that would be the first thing I would do.

“Now I hear of these two deaths and it brings it back about how my son drowned.

“There are more and more each year.

“These kids need to listen to warnings that it is dangerous.

“More obviously needs to be done to raise awareness.”

Ann, of Platt Bridge, had reignited her campaign for better safety measures at East Quarry last year, following the drowning of 13-year-old Marsh Green schoolboy Miracle Godson in April last year.

Miracle’s parents, Elizabeth and Godson Anumba, have called for the site to be filled in, and urged the owners, Mainsprint Ltd, to take better preventative action.

But an inquest ruled that the firm had done all it could to prevent access, including erecting high perimeter fences which were regularly checked for breaks.

Police have issued further warnings about the dangers of swimming in open water, stating that very cold temperatures only a short distance below the surface and prevalent even after warm weather spells, can affect the body and there may be hidden dangers, such as rocks.

Det Insp Kate Atton, of GMP’s Rochdale borough, said: “Rafael’s death is believed to be a tragic accident and the case will now be passed to the coroner for progression.

“My thoughts are with Rafael’s family and friends as well as his school colleague’s at this terrible and sad time.

“I would urge people, especially children, to take care around the water and try not to swim anywhere other than supervised swimming pools.”

Peter Bell, of Teesdale and Weardale Search and Mountain Rescue Team, said: “Even the best swimmers can get affected by cold water shock.”