Mum who lost son, 13, in open water tragedy 'can finally say Dylan didn't die in vain'

A mum who has been campaigning for water safety education after her son tragically drowned is celebrating a victory as it becomes a mandatory part of the national curriculum.

Beckie Ramsay has dedicated her life to saving others after her 13-year-old son Dylan died while swimming in a quarry in Whittle-le-Woods, near Chorley. The teen was hit by cold water shock and drowned within three minutes in July 2011.

Spurred on by the open water tragedy, Beckie, 44, started advocating for water safety education and support for grieving families. She established the Doing It For Dylan Foundation in 2021, with ex-Olympic swimmer Sharron Davies as its patron.

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Now, after gathering over 100,000 signatures on her petition to include water safety in school curriculums which won the Petition Campaign of the Year in 2022, Beckie finally received the news she had been waiting for. The former hairdresser, from Chorley, told the Mirror: "To see this finally in black and white on official Department for Education documentation, that every single child in the country will, by law, have to be taught the potential dangers of the water, it's everything I ever set out to do. I can finally say Dylan didn't die in vain."

The exact circumstances of how Beckie and her husband John's eldest child Dylan a strong swimmer drowned remain unclear. He was swimming in open water at Hill Top Quarry with friends on a hot day when he encountered difficulties.

Since the tragic loss of her son, Beckie - also a devoted mum to Stephen, 24, Joshua, 22, and Annie, 17 - has dedicated herself to educating over 300,000 children across 1,000 schools about the dangers of water. Her tireless efforts include collaborations with the police and RNLI, as well as creating the Families Against Drowning Facebook group.

In recognition of her relentless campaign against water-related fatalities, she was honoured with the British Empire Medal in 2019. But it was her petition that truly marked the achievement of her mission.

Overwhelmed by the recent developments, she said: "The news this week is simply mind-blowing proof that all my work and that of my amazing supporters wasn't for nothing. Thousands and thousands of lives will be saved as a result of this change.

"I know Dylan would be so proud if he could see what we've done."

Beckie added: "I'd been to London the day before for a special service at St Paul's Cathedral with King Charles and Queen Camilla for people like me who had been given honours – I literally had no idea this was coming! It's like the best Christmas or birthday present ever. I still can't quite believe it."

Sharron Davies was one of the first to heaped praise on the courageous mum. The swim champ messaged saying: "Brilliant... you wonderful warrior. Dylan would be so proud."

Water safety charity Swim Teachers Association says accidental drownings of children rose 46% in 2022 compared to the five-year average – and may have increased again in 2023.

Beckie said: "We only teach our children enough to kill them – we teach them to swim, but not water safety. Since Dylan died almost 8,000 people have drowned in open water."

"Each year more people die due to not knowing the dangers posed by going into water than those who die in cycling accidents, yet we've had cycling proficiency tests in place for decades. Kids know the Green Cross Code, stranger danger... finally water safety is on that list. Every minute of every day, this has been my goal. I've slept in my car outside schools and fire stations before talks because I couldn't afford hotels. It's almost impossible to take in it's real."