Shropshire Star

Heartfelt appeal from widow of husband who drowned in River Severn

A young widow has made a heartfelt plea to people to ensure they get home safely after festive celebrations.

Kirsty Walsh, ambassador for Home & Dry, part of West Mercia Search and Rescue

Kirsty Walsh is backing a UK-wide Don't Drink and Drown campaign launched by the emergency and other services to try to prevent tragic deaths in the run-up to Christmas and new year.

Her husband Shane drowned when he fell into the River Severn in Shrewsbury after a night out in September 2017. He was 29.

As an ambassador for West Mercia Search and Rescue, Kirsty will join other members patroling areas of the River Severn on the weekend before Christmas.

"Myself and the team will patrol the river where the night-time economy is high. We will talk to individuals about how to keep safe around the water and I will talk to individuals about how easily Shane lost his life in an area that he knew so well," said Kirsty.

Kirsty has made a video urging people to get home safely this Christmas.

In the video she says: "The Don't Drink and Drown campaign is really very important to me. It touches my heart. I find campaigns like this very difficult but I am passionate about them."

She explains Shane lost his life when he went on a night out, got separated from his friends and drowned in the River Severn.

"It's difficult. Having to have that first Christmas without Shane and all those special dates and anniversaries, it's really hard," she added.

"That's why I support the Don't Drink and Drown and Home and Dry campaigns.

"What happened to Shane can happen to anybody. Shane knew the area, he knew his surrounding, he knew the river.

"Unfortunately his death shows that water doesn't discriminate and it can happen to anybody just as easily as slipping off the kerb.

"My plea to you this Christmas is to get home safely. Stay with your friends, be a mate and plan your route home."

Kirsty also urged people to take the West Mercia Search and Rescue online water course.

"It is only 30 minutes of your time and educates on how to be safe in and around water," she said.

"Know how to get home. Keep safe, keep your friends safe and get home safely this Christmas."

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