04:00PM, Thursday 08 July 2021
A Maidenhead headteacher has urged young people to ‘remember how dangerous water can be’ ahead of the school summer holidays, when the temptation to enter it can rise.
Dr Andrew Morrison, headteacher at Furze Platt Senior School, added that students should ‘have fun’ this summer but also remain wary of the fatal consequences that can result from entering bodies of water.
The school in Furze Platt Road was hit by tragedy on May 31 when the body of Jordan Veira, a student at the school, was pulled from the River Thames after the teenager disappeared beneath the water between Cookham and Bourne End.
Dr Morrison said he has been ‘incredibly proud’ of the way his students have reacted to Jordan’s death, with the school holding a memorial service for him last month where memories from staff and pupils were shared.
The school has also recently hosted a talk with Neil Whiteman, safety education co-ordinator at the Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service (RBFRS), who explained to students the dangers of water and urged them to be careful this summer.
Cold water shock is one of the main consequences which can affect even the strongest swimmers, as well as unknown tides and currents posing a significant hazard.
A non-uniform day will also be held at Furze Platt tomorrow (Friday), with proceeds going to a memorial fund for Jordan.
“Enjoy the summer and have a good time with your mates, but remember how dangerous water can be and pay attention to the signage,” Dr Morrison said.
“Listen to the messages from RBFRS and make sure you are not taking any undue risk because ultimately, nobody wants to be making calls to your friends and family because you have taken one risk too many.”
He added: “I wanted to say how incredibly proud I was by our students for the way they reacted to Jordan’s death and the courage some of them took to speak at the memorial service. It was an incredibly emotional afternoon.”
Dr Morrison told the Advertiser that the school would be carrying on with its water safety messaging with more frequent talks and events.
The upcoming year 7s, who join in September, will be given a talk later this year when they arrive at secondary school, he said.
“I absolutely hope they [the students] have taken on the message and do look out for each other and themselves this summer,” Dr Morrison added.
“Year on year there seems to be deaths on the Thames and we want to prevent those from happening.
“You have just got to feel for the friends and family of anybody who has sadly lost their life in similar accidents and we have to hope that by education we can try and prevent future tragedies from occurring.”
Dr Morrison said that he has seen ‘great mutual support’ amongst staff and students at Furze Platt Senior School since the news of Jordan’s death broke.
“I am really proud of how they have supported each other,” he added.
The family of Jordan are calling for ‘meaningful change’ over water safety following his tragic death in the River Thames.
Click here to view Jordan's memorial fund page.