Yesterday I launched the Carmarthenshire Water Safety Partnership. You can watch a short video here.
I cannot think of a better example of good coming from tragedy. The tragedy was the loss of Cameron Comey in the River Towy in February. Cameron was playing with his brother when he fell in. His body has never been found.
Following the accident, Cameron’s family decided to make something good of this horrific experience. Thousands of people in Carmarthenshire supported them with donations, concerts and fundraising. With the help of a friend they have established a fund and pulled together the Partnership. Its purpose is to ensure we enjoy Carmarthenshire’s beautiful waterways safely.
I was hugely honoured to be asked to launch the Partnership. My contribution has been miniscule. Others have done all the work. What encourages me most is that this is a grass-roots organisation set up, supported, funded, organised and led by people who care about water safety.
We had representatives from the usual local government agencies – council, fire, police, education – who all support the work. That’s great. But better still was the presence of voluntary organisations, the RNLI, Scouts and others, local people and the Comeys themselves.
My message to the Partnership is this. Harness this expertise, listen to the public and avoid the suffocating embrace of officialdom. If you can achieve only a few small things – safer river banks, better access, greater awareness among children – you will save a life.
You can do that yourselves. Don’t be slowed down by official meddling. Don’t get tied up in meetings full of guff about ‘multiagency partnership working’. Decide what you need and demand a change. The public sector is your servant, not the other way around.
I wish you all success. And I encourage everyone to support this great venture so we can all enjoy Carmarthenshire’s beautiful waters safely.
Go to Facebook and ‘like’ Carmarthenshire Water Safety Partnership to find out more.