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Tragic widow in weir walk warning to Shrewsbury's children

By Lucy Todman | Shrewsbury | News | Published:

It has become something of a challenge for generations of young people. But today a warning was repeated for families to keep away from Shrewsbury's landmark weir.

Walking the weir back in 1959. Now safety warnings have been repeated by Kirsty Walsh, inset.

As our warm early summer continues, the dangers of the River Severn have been highlighted by the widow of a Shrewsbury man who died in the waters last year.

Kirsty Walsh, the ambassador for West Mercia Search and Rescue (WMSAR), and widow of Shane Walsh who died last September, said that children should not be playing in the water.

Since the weather has turned warmer there have been a number of reports of young people entering the River Severn and running across the weir in Castlefields. They are often with their parents, who appear oblivious to the dangers.

Warnings have been issued to parents to stop their children playing close to the riverbanks and the police have also asked they refrain from doing so.

Kirsty and Shane Walsh with their children

Mrs Walsh said she received word at the weekend that children were playing in the weir – just downstream from where her 29-year-old husband died.

She said a family member saw children playing in the weir on Sunday.

Mrs Walsh said: “I told her to phone 101 and I believe she did. The water looks very still and it’s very low but you don’t see the dangers underneath.”

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She added that although measures have been taken to clean up the river, which has seen the reintroduction of otters and other migrating creatures, brought in by the cleaner waters, there are still dangers lurking beneath the surface.

Mrs Walsh added: “If you take in the water there are horrible, horrible things in that can make you ill. We had one of our volunteers hospitalised as they took in some water accidentally.

“It can make you really very poorly, and people can’t see the trees or trolleys and other dangerous debris that may be underneath.”

Earlier this month, Mrs Walsh was verbally abused by young children when she asked them not to play in the water.

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She is now encouraging schools to complete the WMSAR free online river safety course with their pupils.

Mrs Walsh said members of WMSAR were at Shropshire Kids Festival at the weekend and will also be attending Shrewsbury River Festival next month to highlight their work.

Volunteers will be on hand to demonstrate the important work WMSAR do and also answer any questions from members of the public.

Lucy Todman

By Lucy Todman
@shroptod

Senior reporter for the Shropshire Star and Shrewsbury Chronicle based in Shrewsbury.

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