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The Home and Dry Campaign

The Home and Dry Campaign
The Police and Crime Commissioner of West Mercia and a range of other agencies, are uniting to drive a campaign to ensure people get home and dry.
WSART are supporting this campaign, and are playing our part with promoting it through out the UK, with our work we do.
In the last year 430 people drowned across England.
Student Tom Jones tragically lost his life in Worcester during Fresher’s Week 2018 and Shane Walsh, a 29 year old father of two, tragically lost his life in Shrewsbury in 2017.
The Commissioner is working with Shane’s widow Kirsty Walsh and Tom’s parents, Ian and Vicki to raise awareness and prevent unnecessary water deaths. Other organisations are involved in the multi-agency drive.
The Home and Dry Network has worked collectively and extensively to tackle the very roots of the issue- improved education around water safety, physical prevention, work around the night time economy and mental health awareness.
Commissioner John Campion said
“The awful loss of life, has shook our communities. We are taking a strong united approach, which draws upon the expertise of a number of agencies and builds upon the existing good work.
I look forward to driving this campaign forward. Together we want to reduce the number of deaths, ensure emergency and voluntary resources aren’t drawn to incidents that could have been prevented, and ultimately keep our communities safe.”
The Home and Dry Campaign was first launched in 2017 by West Mercia Search and Rescue, a volunteer led organisation who receive grant funding from the Police and Crime Commissioner. The campaign, backed by Water Safety Ambassador Kirsty Walsh, has continued to grow through the Home and Dry Network. It includes a free online water safety course, and an offline version for schools and colleges.
The Home and Dry Network
The Home and Dry Network, chaired by the Police and Crime Commissioner was established, to drive this work forward. At the first meeting in August 2018, work began to collate existing work around water safety and build on best practice, look at ways to educate and inform communities, in order to keep them safe.
Four key strands for the campaign we’re identified: improved education around water safety, physical prevention, work around the night time economy and mental health awareness.
The Network has worked collectively to build a campaign, which focuses around these key areas and will continue over the coming months.
At an event held and Worcester University on 12th July 2019 each of the agencies were able to jointly promote water safety, unveil multi-agency promotional materials, hear first hand the experiences from the families directly affected by water deaths and continue to expand the network and the campaign.
WSART are working with the following partners are part of the campaign:
For more information or to be part of the network email sarah-jane.morgan@westmercia.pnn.police.uk
Kirsty’s Story
Kirsty Walsh has pioneered the campaign following personal tragedy. Her husband, and father of her two children was just 29 when he died through drowning in the River Severn, following a night out in Shrewsbury. Shane was located by volunteers from WMSAR and recovered by West Mercia Police.
Read her story below:
Kirsty met Shane Walsh, and three months later they were engaged. They happily married and went on two have Corey and Adalynn, their two children. Sadly Shane never got to see his daughter’s first birthday, or his son’s first day at school.
In 2017, Shane had been at a family party before continuing the night in bars in his home town of Shrewsbury. In the early hours of the morning, he was close to the River Severn which runs through the town. He stumbled over a low wall which rather than pushing him backwards, propelled him forward into the river.
Shane was missing for 3 days, the days which Kirsty described as the worst of her life. Volunteers from West Mercia Search and Rescue, meticulously searched for him before his body was recovered from the water.
Since Shane’s death, Kirsty has become an ambassador for water safety, working as part of West Mercia Search and Rescue, along with a number of other agencies.
Kirsty has helped to make the area close to Quantum Leap in Shrewsbury, where Shane fell, much safer through physical barriers, planting hedgerows and installing a throw line board in her husband’s memory which could be used if someone did get in to trouble.
Education has been a big focus for Kirsty and she is key in driving the Home and Dry campaign forward. Like many people, until Shane’s death she wasn’t aware of the dangers of cold water shock- this is a message she’s been keen to share since. Kirsty has been in to schools to send a powerful message about water safety, helped to develop an online water safety course and taken part in river patrols during busy evenings in Shrewsbury.
However for Kirsty it doesn’t stop there and she believes there is always more which can be done. Water related deaths aren’t just an issue in Shrewsbury but across the whole country. Through the Home and Dry Network, professionals across a number of key agencies have come together to share water safety advice and drive a campaign which tackles four key aspects- education, night time economy, physical prevention and mental health.
Shane’s death has had a huge impact on Kirsty, their children, their family, their friends and the wider community.
Kirsty is working hard to create a legacy for Shane, devoting her time and efforts to ensure that further tragedies can’t happen.
Campaign Materials
The following materials are available to download:
 
Social Media Graphic:
For hard copies of materials, or to request branded merchandise email sarah-jane.morgan@westmercia.pnn.police.uk