Five-year old boy uses new-found skills from water-safety class to save sister’s life

HARVEY Taylor, five, has been reunited with the RNLI volunteer who taught his class about water safety just days before he put his new-found skills into practice. The Ysgol Swn y Don pupil knew exactly what to do when his older sister Elliemay Wheelan, eight, got into trouble on a family holiday.

Proud mum Zoe Wheelan, from Old Colwyn wrote to the RNLI to thank volunteers for coming into school just days before their trip to Majorca and claims the information given to Harvey undoubtedly saved his sister’s life. Zoe says:

‘The children were all playing in the pool in rubber rings. They decided to go to another area of the pool, Elliemay got out of her depth, she fell through the ring and started to panic. She was in real trouble and in serious danger of drowning.

‘Harvey knew exactly what to do as the RNLI had taught him not to panic and to put his hands up and call for help. I honestly think without the lesson he’d had he wouldn’t have even realised what was happening. He was shouting loudly and raising the alarm managing to attract attention and Elliemay was safe.

‘Harvey was so shaken up, but later on started to tell us all about the visit to school and I know this is what saved my daughter. I was so grateful to the RNLI and now the schools are breaking up for the holiday, I want people to be aware of the risks. The first thing I did when I got home was contacted the school to say thank you to the RNLI for helping Harvey to save his sister’s life. I just want people to hear our story and realise how quickly it can happen.’

The water safety volunteer who visited the school was Myfawny Jones, from Llandudno Lifeboat Station. She was delighted to return to the school to present Harvey with a special certificate to congratulate him on listening so attentively.

Myfanwy says:

‘As part of our water safety programme, speaking with children and young people is an essential part of our work. Hearing Harvey’s story is incredibly heart-warming. Despite his young age, he was able to put all he’d learnt into practice and rather than panic, he did exactly the right thing in calling for help.

‘We were thrilled to be invited back to the school to say a huge well done. We hope as the holidays approach, his story will reach other families and urge them to take safety seriously should they be visiting the coast, or any open water this summer.’

The RNLI’s key safety advice for children and young people to remember is:

· Stop and think: Is it a safe place to swim? Are there hazards beneath the water? Are there hidden currents or fast-flowing water? How deep is it and can you get out easily?

· Stay together: Always go with someone else

· Float: If you get into trouble in the water, float to live until you feel calm

· Call 999 or 112: If you see someone else in trouble in the water

Chris Cousens, RNLI water safety at the RNLI, said:

‘Now the weather is warming up we expect to see a big increase in visitors to Welsh coastline unfortunately this does mean there is likely to be an increase in the number of incidents in the sea.

‘Many of the incidents our lifeguards attend during the school holidays involve children and teenagers and we would urge everyone to be aware of the risks and know what to do in an emergency.

‘We would encourage people to visit a lifeguarded beach and swim between the red and yellow flags. RNLI lifeguards will be patrolling around 245 beaches this summer to offer advice on how to stay safe and they are also there to help anyone who gets into trouble.

‘We want people to think about their own safety, take time to familiarise yourself with our advice and to share this with your friends and family.’

Any school or youth group can book a presentation from an RNLI Water Safety volunteer like Myfanwy by visiting this webpage:

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