Young people urged to #RememberRony this summer

Young people are being reminded of the dangers of swimming in open water following the county’s heatwave.

Stay safe in the waterways of East Cambridgeshire is the message from fire officers after reports of young people playing in unsupervised water spots in the district.

Group Commander Kevin Napier, Head of community fire safety at Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “When the sun comes out, we know the public, particularly young people, are more inclined to gather around waterways to socialise to enjoy the weather, and we have seen this during the past week. 

“We want to remind people to keep our #RememberRony campaign on their minds before they get tempted to cool down in rivers and lakes and instead go to a supervised lido. We often find young people gather near lakes and rivers, some of which are not always the easiest to access for emergency vehicles and many which are actually private property, not designed for public swimming with no lifeguard on site.”

The emergency services have received reports of young people swimming in private lakes in Ely in recent days and are warning of the dangers that can come with it.

Group Commander Napier continued: “It is important for parents and young people to be aware of the many risks that open water possesses, such as being deeper than anticipated, with hazards below the surface to get trapped on. Even though the sun may be shining, the water could still be very cold causing the body to cramp up quickly and posing a risk to you getting out the water safely.”

From 2011 to 2016 there were 13 deaths, 18 people injured (with or without rescue) and 29 people rescued (without injury) from Cambridgeshire’s waterways.

The fire service’s #RememberRony campaign aims to educate young people about the risks associated with open water. It is backed by the family of Huntingdon schoolboy Rony John, who sadly died in 2014 during the first week of the summer holidays, while playing with friends in the Great River Ouse.

Group Commander Napier added: “It is also important that if you see someone in trouble in water that you know what to do. Call 999 immediately with clear details of your location and if possible send someone to the nearest road to flag down the emergency services when they arrive.

“You can find the nearest life ring or anything that could help them float, and if someone goes under the water, mark on the water’s edge the place they were last seen with something like a piece of clothing.”

For more information about water safety visit or to pledge that you will stay safe around open water this summer, use the hashtag #RememberRony on social media.