Safety on the Sands campaign taken to the House of Commons

The Westmorland Gazette: Young people from Dallam School, Milnthorpe, and Queen Elizabeth's School, Kirkby Lonsdale, on a visit to HM Coastguard at Arnside. The students are pictured with Station officer Nigel Capstick and Coastguard Andrew Pringle Young people from Dallam School, Milnthorpe, and Queen Elizabeth's School, Kirkby Lonsdale, on a visit to HM Coastguard at Arnside. The students are pictured with Station officer Nigel Capstick and Coastguard Andrew Pringle

THE Westmorland Gazette’s drive to save lives on the sands has been taken to Parliament.

MP Tim Farron has backed the Safety on the Sands campaign by tabling an Early Day Motion, commending the newspaper for its efforts and calling upon those of influence to join him.

The campaign was launched to heighten awareness of the extreme dangers of the Morecambe Bay sands, following two dramatic rescues in June which saw people stuck up to their waist in treacherous quicksand.

Mr Farron, who regularly walks close to the sands, said: “I wanted to submit this motion to Parliament because the campaign is vital in improving people’s awareness of the risks involved in walking on the sands without expert guidance.

“I’m really pleased that the Gazette has decided to take the lead to ensure this important message gets across.”

Thousands of warning posters were delivered last week across Arnside, Sandside, Silverdale, Grange-over-Sands, Flookburgh, Allithwaite, Cartmel and Cark-in-Cartmel.

Businesses in Milnthorpe, Carnforth, Bolton-le-Sands, Ulverston, Dalton-in-Furness and Bardsea have this week also been provided with the hard-hitting notices.

Cumbria Tourism also got behind the safety initiative this week.

Richard Greenwood, Head of Policy and Research, said the tourism body was keen to endorse the campaign: “We will get the message out to our almost 3,000 members in our newsletter, can put it on the Cumbria Tourism website, and as vice chair of the Morecambe Bay Partnership I can work through that network as well,” he said. “It’s a pretty simple message really: only venture onto the Sands with an experienced guide.”

And young people from the area were educated about the notorious Bay when they visited the Arnside Coastguard on Tuesday, as part of the National Citizen Service, delivered by Inspira.

The 16 to 17-year-olds, from Dallam School, Milnthorpe, Queen Elizabeth School, Kirkby Lonsdale, Queen Katherine School, Kendal, and Kirkbie Kendal School, learned the workings of the HM Coastguard, and the dangers of the sands.

Station officer Nigel Capstick said: “We were very pleased to welcome the group of young adults. The visitors spent time examining our rescue equipment and asking many interesting questions and we also talked about the value of volunteering.”

  • Arnside Coastguard was called to Silverdale on Friday when two teenage girls from St Helens became cut off by the tide. They managed to swim ashore themselves but Mr Capstick said they were ‘very lucky’ as they swam ‘in the right direction.’

Pupils put us in the picture

The Westmorland Gazette:

Reception pupils at Arnside National School took inspiration from our campaign to create their own Safety on the Sands message.

The children, who are all aged four or five, have been learning about different aspects of the seaside, so when teacher Anne Dickinson saw the launch of the SOS campaign, she included the topic in her teaching.

“I talked to them about being safe on the beach, using the newspaper article to explain how treacherous the sands of Morecambe Bay can be,” she said.

The youngsters then set to work on their own posters, with instruction to create short sharp messages to warn people of the dangers.

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