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Shrewsbury campaigner backs William's river safety plea

By Aimee Jones | Shrewsbury | News | Published:

A Shrewsbury woman whose husband died tragically in the River Severn is backing a new water safety campaign launched by the Duke of Cambridge.

Kirsty Walsh and Prince William'

Prince William's initiative is designed to help prevent suicides and accidental drowning in the Thames.

More than 30 people die on the Thames each year, with over 700 life-threatening incidents taking place.

Kirsty Walsh, who helped to launch a similar campaign in Shropshire after her husband Shane died, said William's campaign will highlight river safety across the country - not just London.

"I think it's amazing that Prince William has decided to focus on this," she said.

"It will really bring river safety to the forefront of people's minds. Drowning is a problem up and down the country, not just in Shrewsbury and it's an issue what needs to be tackled head on."

Mrs Walsh's husband died in 2017 after falling into the River Severn.

Shane and Kirsty Walsh with their children

The mother-of-two is now heavily involved in campaigning for better safety around the river and is the ambassador for West Mercia Search & Rescue team and its 'Home and Dry – No More River Deaths' initiative.

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"Personally for me I would like to see water safety taught in schools," she said.

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"That is going to be one of my goals this year and to have someone like Prince William really highlighting water safety as a big issue really helps.

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"I didn't know about cold water shock until Shane died. There is so many things people need to be told to prevent future deaths and schools are a great place to start."

Shane Walsh

This week she revealed that there were 111 river rescues in Shrewsbury between April 2017 and April 2018.

The majority of the rescues were at Telford Way, Welsh Bridge, Smithfield Road, Castle Walk, English Bridge and Victoria Avenue.

"That number is huge," Mrs Walsh added.

"We need to do something about this so I'm really glad the issue is going national.

"I'm currently in talks with the Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion, and Shrewsbury police about what we're planning for the summer in terms of river safety."

Aimee Jones

By Aimee Jones
@aimeejones_star

Senior reporter based at the Shropshire Star's Shrewsbury office, covering Shrewsbury, North Shropshire and South Shropshire.

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