This was just one description of the room, as South Dartmoor Community College students reacted to one woman’s story of the sudden loss of her brother Philip, when she was just 18 years old.

In a presentation led by Sue Hutchings, wife of Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK) President, Ian Hutchings, Sue shared her story with 250 students, to highlight our Don’t Drink and Drown campaign.

Sue stressed that her brother died as a result of a sudden accident, not to drowning but in addition to discussing the dangers of drinking in and around bodies of water; Sue also explained the effects of cold water shock on the body, how to react if you unexpectedly fall into water and supported her own experiences with RLSS UK video resources.

“With the Don’t Drink & Drown campaign in full swing, I wanted to do my bit to educate and help young people understand, how dangerous drinking in and around bodies of water can be,” Sue explained.

“Losing Philip had a devastating effect on me but I was far from alone. A light went out for our entire family and all his friends that night. People don’t realise how wide-reaching and profound an effect the sudden loss of a loved one has. As we head into ‘party season’, I hope that sharing my story, at the very least, gives people pause for thought.”

The students took time out to react and respond to the presentation, describing it as “interesting and informative”, “a really good message, particularly for our age group” with 6th form student, Rob Gale going as far as to say:

“I thought that the information caught the attention of the audience, as it was regarding people of our age. I do a lot of water sports and this assembly taught me more about the dangers of water and the effects of alcohol on the body.”

Kirsty Matthews, South Dartmoor Community College, Deputy Head added:

“It was a powerful presentation and a fantastic message to get into all schools. We thank Sue for sharing her story with us.”