Family speaks out to back charity’s Don’t Drink and Drown campaign

06 December 2016

louis-harris-newsPowerful campaign from the Royal Life Saving Society UK hopes to save lives this festive season

The family of an 18-year-old who is thought to have tragically drowned after a night out, have this year thrown their weight behind a major charity campaign which is set to reach more people than ever with its vital Don’t Drink and Drown message.

Louis Harris, from Dorchester, tragically lost his life after he went missing in the early hours of Sunday, 14 February, this year after a night out with his friends. He was last seen outside the Harbour Master’s Office, on Custom House Quay at 4:30am. Louis body was found four weeks later in Weymouth Harbour.

Louis’ parents, Holly and Graham Harris, are now speaking out to show their support for the Don’t Drink and Drown campaign and RLSS UK.

Holly said: “Since losing Louis, we have been horrified to discover just how many other young adults have died in similar, tragic, circumstances and it has moved me to want to do something about it.

“When intoxicated, people are in a highly vulnerable state, many young adults finding out the limits of their alcohol tolerance, and I want to warn people of the dangers. If people prepare well before they go out and plan how to get home safely before their judgement is affected, it may avoid things like this happening in the first place.

“We still don’t know exactly what happened to Louis but if I can raise awareness and support the Don’t Drink and Drown campaign, it may stop another family having to experience this terrible journey.”

Louis’ parents are set to visit students at Bath Spa University and Thomas Hardye School, Dorset, where Louis attended, and present vital water safety and drowning prevention sessions.

RLSS UK’s Don’t Drink and Drown campaign this year runs from 5 – 11 December, warning drinkers to act responsibly near water after they have been drinking – and to make sure they and their friends avoid walking home near bodies of water. Last year 20 per cent of all adult accidental drowning victims had alcohol in their bloodstream*.

Over the previous three years (2012-14) an average of 38 per cent of 18 to 21-year-old accidental drowning victims had alcohol in their bloodstream. In 2015 this increased to 67 per cent*.

RLSS UK’s Chief Executive, Di Steer said: “We would like to thank Louis’ family for supporting our Don’t Drink and Drown campaign.

“People die each year after entering the water with alcohol in their bloodstreams, either deliberately or completely by accident.

“Drinking near water can be dangerous and a deadly cocktail. Alcohol can seriously impede your ability to survive in water.

“At RLSS UK we work hard to inform and educate people of the dangers and advise the public to never go into water when you have been drinking and always take care and be aware if you are near water.

“When walking home from a night out, avoid routes that are alongside water, particularly in the darkness, and always stay with and look out for your friends.

“We are proud that more organisations than ever are backing such an important campaign and particularly thank Holly and Graham who are brave enough to share their story to possibly save the lives of others.”

An inquest into Louis Harris death is yet to take place in due course.

To watch and share the RLSS UK Don’t Drink and Drown film visit RLSS UK YouTube channel or visit RLSS UK’s Twitter or Facebook accounts to see and share its new Christmas Survival Guide.

 

For more information on RLSS UK’s Don’t Drink and Drown campaign –

Visit our website at www.rlss.org.uk

Follow us on Twitter – @RLSSUK

Follow the campaign – #DontDrinkandDrown

Visit our Facebook page – www.facebook.com/RLSSUK

Call – 0300 3230 096

For interview opportunities please contact Olivia Healey on 01789 774 216 or email oliviahealey@rlss.org.uk.

 

*National Water Safety Forum Water Incident Database (WAID) of which RLSS UK is a member. Data is used from 2012-2015, including accidental and natural cause records only. Adults aged 18 years+. Alcohol records are suspected or confirmed cased, based upon Coroners and emergency service records, court records.

The Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK) is the drowning prevention charity.  Around 400 people drown in the UK every year and the RLSS UK aims to prevent drowning through water safety education.

Through its trading subsidiary, IQL UK, there are more than 90,000 RLSS UK Pool Lifeguards in the UK trained in the National Pool Lifeguard Qualification (NPLQ). Around 95 per cent of all pool lifeguards are trained by the RLSS UK.

RLSS UK awards and programmes teach a range of lifesaving skills ranging from life support (CPR) to water survival and rescue skills. Programmes include Rookie Lifeguard (for eight to12-year–olds), Survive and Save (for 12 years+) and Save a Baby’s Life (a free course aimed at parents and carers of young children).

The RLSS UK (then the Life Saving Society) was formed in 1891. In 1904, as there was great support for the organisation from the Royal Family, the society was granted permission to use the Royal title and became the Royal Life Saving Society.

Drowning Prevention Week is the national campaign run by the Royal Life Saving Society UK to cut down the number of accidental drowning that occur each year and support families affected by drowning. The next campaign will run in June 2017.

For more information and interview/spokesperson opportunities contact Porcha Treanor on 01789 774495 or email porchatreanor@rlss.org.uk or Olivia Healey on 01789 774 216 or email oliviahealey@rlss.org.uk