Firefighter backs water safety campaign to save lives after losing son in river drowning

A father has backed his fire service's calls for people to stay safe by the water after his own son's life was claimed when he drowned.

By Fiona Thompson
Thursday, 02 May, 2019, 20:55
Dave Irwin pictured with his late son Ross.

One year ago, TWFRS Watch Manager Dave Irwin unveiled the first Throw line and Signage Board in the North East, located at Fatfield in Washington.

The board is dedicated to David's son Ross who tragically lost his life, in the water in 2016.

The fun loving 22-year-old left the pub just before 11pm, telling friends he was going to get a taxi to Sunderland.

It is thought he went through a small gap in a fence by the river bank and fell down the drop straight into the River Wear.

The former a former Houghton Kepier and Usworth Sixth Form student's body was found on Christmas Eve about 100 yards down the river from where he fell in.

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Dave is supporting our annual water safety event on Newcastle Quayside on Sunday.

The event will take place between 11am to 3pm, close to the Millennium Bridge.

As well as sharing lots of important advice for staying safe around water, firefighters will demonstrate rescuing live casualties from the River Tyne – including Trent Maxwell, better known as Bondi Rescue’s Lifeguard Maxi. urging people not to take risks on a night out.

Maxi will also be helping South Shields Volunteer Lifeguard Club (SSVLG) run a safety training session at Sandhaven Beach in South Shields as they pass on life saving skills to six to 16-year-olds.

Dave continued: “We never expected anything like this to happen.

"It has left us utterly shattered. If I can manage to stop this tragedy from ever happening again I am willing to talk about this incident to anybody who is willing to listen.”