Safety training rolled out to staff and volunteers at popular park
Potentially life-saving training has been delivered to staff and volunteers at a County Durham park.
Throw-line training has been given to those who work or volunteer at Durham County Council’s Riverside Park at Chester-le-Street.
The training came about following the formation of a water safety group in Chester-le-
Street in response to an incident last year in which a young child had to be rescued from
the River Wear which runs through the park.
Teams from Durham County Council, including its Chester-le-Street Area Action
Partnership, joined forces with a number of partners to set up the group. These were
County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service (CDDFRS); Durham
Constabulary; and water safety campaigner Fiona Gosling, from Crook, whose son
Cameron died from cold water shock after jumping into the River Wear near Bishop
Auckland in 2015.
The group arranged for fire and rescue service staff to give a free demonstration of how to
use their throw ropes in the river, for park workers and volunteers. This was to assist those
working in the park should they ever be required to use the buoyancy aids located along
In addition to the training, the group also designed a meeting point sign for park users
should children get separated, complete with emergency numbers if needed. This has
since been installed by management of the park.
The group has also been organising assemblies in Chester-le-Street schools, featuring
Mrs Gosling. These are being targeted at the schools closest to Riverside Park in order to
educate children and young people of the dangers of swimming in the river.
Cllr John Shuttleworth, Cabinet member for community safety, said: “Riverside Park is a
great place for people of all ages to come to enjoy themselves and we very much want
that to continue.
“Incidents like the one last year are few and far between here but continuing to ensure
those who visit this riverside environment do so in a safe fashion is of paramount
importance to us. That is what the work we have been doing with the fire service, police
and Fiona, is all about.
“We are really grateful to all our partners for working with us to deliver this potentially life-
saving training to staff and volunteers at the park; as well as the school assemblies which
equip young people with awareness of how to enjoy riverside settings safely.”
Sarah Litt, community safety team leader at CDDFRS, said: “Knowing what to do in an
emergency is important, it’s important to act fast as although the water looks inviting from
the surface, it is still cold enough to induce cold water shock, not to mention the dangers
lurking beneath that you cannot see from the surface.”