Free swimming lessons plea following tragic death of 15-year-old

Ben Quartermaine, 15, who died in July Picture: ESSEX POLICE

Ben Quartermaine, 15, who died in July Picture: ESSEX POLICE - Credit: Archant

Every child should be taught to swim, cope with riptides and learn life-saving skills – that’s the call from a community leader following a teenager’s tragic death.

Clacton. Picture: TENDRING DISTRICT COUNCIL

Clacton. Picture: TENDRING DISTRICT COUNCIL - Credit: Archant

Clacton councillor Andrew Pemberton wants leaders to consider offering free swimming lessons to all children under 15.

His plea will be heard at a full Tendring District Council meeting in the town tonight.

Aimed at helping every child in the area, Mr Pemberton’s call follows the death of 15-year-old Ben Quartermaine, who drowned near Clacton Pier in July.

The youngster got into difficulty with a friend on July 26 and a large-scale search was launched by emergency crews.

Floral tributes to 15-year-old Ben Quartermaine line railings at Clacton Pier Picture: NIGEL BROWN

Floral tributes to 15-year-old Ben Quartermaine line railings at Clacton Pier Picture: NIGEL BROWN - Credit: NIGEL BROWN

RNLI lifeboat crews managed to rescue the first boy but efforts to find Mr Quartermaine were called off when a body was discovered.


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In a motion put forward to tonight’s full council meeting, Mr Pemberton asked leaders to consider: “That this council takes the necessary steps to offer, at Clacton Leisure Centre and other suitable venues, up to six free swimming lessons every year for all children under the age of 15 years, in order to see that every child in the district of Tendring can be taught to swim, cope with a riptide or strong current, swim/float fully clothed and learn basic life-saving.”

The topic is up for discussion at tonight’s meeting, which starts at 7.30pm at Clacton Town Hall.

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A council spokesman said: “Swimming is part of the national curriculum. “We are reviewing what support we can offer to schools through our leisure centres to help them deliver this part of the curriculum.”

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