When starting as a Community Drowning Prevention Co-ordinator in November 2015, I would never have thought I would be doing the things I am doing now. I think I have the best job ever, I get to meet with the most amazing volunteers on a weekly basis, I give out awards to amazing people who have rescued people, I get to travel around the South East of England and see how amazing and beautiful England really is, I meet with many external agencies, I attend various events, I help to push campaigns, I go into schools, I talk to people in the community, I meet with the most inspirational families, I get to jump out planes and I have been on TV!! This is all in six months and it’s all for the same reason, to achieve our common goal – to educate people about water safety, to prevent future drownings, to save lives.

Drowning Prevention week was definitely made me sit back and realise why we are all doing this.

Saturday: I went across to the Great East Swim to meet with the Lifeguards from the Suffolk Branch who I had been lucky enough to deliver RLSS UK’s Open Water Lifeguard qualification to the week before. Their dedication and professionalism throughout the day was incredible, it rained A LOT and absolutely no one moaned, we were all smiling. As well as lifeguarding, we had volunteers who wanted to help me fundraise to raise money to help us to carry on attending events like this, we had a manned stand, Perry Walk and raffle tickets being sold. It was a true team effort throughout the day.

Monday: I had the pleasure of meeting with Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service at one of their water training sessions. I had met with a station manager at a focus group a few weeks before where we had decided that we wanted to work together to educate Oxfordshire people about water safety due to a recent drowning in the Thames. This built momentum and resulted in the session was filmed by ITV news and highlighted that Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service are working with and supporting RLSS UK.

Tuesday: Over in Suffolk, colleagues and I met with the leisure providers to deliver a session about Lifeguard recruitment and retention. During this session I was lucky enough to be able to explain how we as a charity can add value to the Lifeguarding role by training the Lifeguards to deliver community sessions in the leisure centres, like Save A Baby’s Life for example. Not only does this begin to build a community within leisure centres it also builds confidence in the Lifeguards’ CPR knowledge.

Wednesday, Thursday and Friday: Each day I was in a school, in total over the three days I managed to deliver water safety education to 800 children. Every session was completely different, the interaction with the children was different at every school and in every session but every session was fun. The water safety message was delivered and the SAFE code was learnt by children as young as four-years-old.

Sunday: Charity skydive day! The day I have been building up to for four months. This was by far one of the most amazing things I have done in my life, so much so I have now looked into solo skydiving and that is my aim for the next year. The excitement and build up for such an event is huge, and there were five of us that took part. I am sure had others been there on the day they would have agreed that it was amazing. Between us we managed to raise around £1,500 for RLSS UK – we were all there with the same aim, Drowning Prevention. This one aim brought us together into a team to support each other through the anxiety and nerves building up to finally getting into the plane, the flight was short and we all knew once above the clouds, the door opened and this was it. One by one we exited the plane where the anxiety left and the experience began. We all landed one after the other, once we were all on the ground we were all able to celebrate together, we had all achieved and we had all experienced something amazing.

Monday: The release of the Norfolk Drowning Prevention Group, a huge scale water safety training session and demonstration was put on for the BBC, ITV, local radio stations and local papers. I was lucky enough to be interviewed giving water safety advice leading into the summer. As this was my first TV interview I was absolutely terrified, the use of ‘urm’ will haunt me forever but onwards and upwards to the next interview where hopefully the message is clear enough to keep people safe around water.

We’re now leading into the RLSS UK annual conference where we get to come together and celebrate how far The Drowning Prevention Charity has come and the amazing things everyone out there is doing. I feel very lucky to be able to spend my time with some inspirational people, if we all remember why we are doing this and have fun whilst we’re doing it I’m positive we will be able to rapidly reduce the amount of drownings in the UK.