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Warning as children spotted in peril at Shrewsbury weir

By Aimee Jones | Shrewsbury | News | Published:

Children are continuing to play on a River Severn weir, despite warnings they are risking their lives.

The weir in Shrewsbury where four children were spoken to by emergency services

Emergency services were this week called to the weir in Benyon Street, Shrewsbury.

Concerns were raised for the safety of four children who were spotted playing close to fast-flowing water.

None of the children were injured or in any difficulty, according to Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service, but they were spoken to by Shrewsbury police and told to leave.

West Mercia Search and Rescue’s river safety campaign has focused efforts on educating the public of the dangers of the weir.

The organisation’s ambassador Kirsty Walsh, whose husband Shane Walsh died in the River Severn last year, said education in primary schools was key to preventing further deaths.

She said she was dismayed to hear that children were continuing to play on the weir and urged parents to ensure their family remain safe.

“We’re working closely with schools to roll out the river safety campaign with them,” she said.

River safety campaigner Kirsty Walsh says education is key

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“And in PE sessions, the children are being taught the use a throw line efficiently if they see anyone in danger.

“Especially with the hotter months coming up, we’re trying to get into as many schools as possible because I think education is the key here.”

In the summer, the weir is a popular section of the river with children and adults because it resembles a water slide.

However, at the bottom of the slope is a potentially fatal whirlpool that threatens to trap anyone who falls in.

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The highly oxygenated, bubbly water below a weir makes it harder than normal to stay afloat, and even good swimmers can struggle.

Mrs Walsh added: "We're trying to get the word out as much as possible on social media so more and more parents are aware.

"Parents don't always know where their children are or what they are doing but it's important they are warning them of the dangers about the water.

"Unfortunately through personal tragedy, we know a lot more about it than most."

Last month Mrs Walsh was verbally abused by a group of children when she asked them not to play in the weir.

In May, emergency services were called out twice to two groups of people walking across it.

Mrs Walsh, who refers to the weir as a 'killer', said people think the water is innocent but they do not understand the real and serious threat it poses to anyone who decides to walk, play or swim in it.

She is now encouraging schools to get in touch with West Mercia Search and Rescue to arrange a talk with the children.

Aimee Jones

By Aimee Jones
@aimeejones_star

News reporter based at the Shropshire Star's Shrewsbury office, covering North Shropshire, including Ellesmere, Whitchurch and Wem.

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