Last Saturday saw a demonstration against a tragedy that should never have been allowed to happen. Callum Baker-Osborne’s family still in mourning from the 18-year old’s devastating passing made the long trip back down to the source of their grief. They did so not to invite the pain it would undoubtedly cause, but to perhaps one day spare another family their agony.
With heads held high, proud of Callum’s heroic actions in saving the life of his niece, they protested the inadequate safety equipment available and lack of visible signage of the dangers of swimming off the beach at Rockley Point. There was nothing to indicate past near-misses and the signage about rip-tides had not made the danger clear.
There was shock that, even since Callum’s passing, there had been a further incident of children being suddenly swept away by currents whilst in the water.
Following this demonstration Callum’s family, local councillors, activists and those who had nearly experienced tragedy themselves at Rockley Point agreed to a petition calling on BCP Council to take action and upgrade the signage and safety equipment, to work with Haven, the RNLI and the Harbour commission and to prevent something like this ever happening again.
Four days later it was launched online and in person along Poole Quay. Within the first 24 hours we had collected 150 signatures online and a further 300 in person. Almost 25% of the way to the required 2000 to have the petition presented at full council.
Cllr Vikki Slade, one of those supporting and organising the petition said “I’m simply lost for words with the way this has taken off just a few days after the idea was born and 24 hours after launch.
The people of Poole felt this tragedy and I’ve never seen such a willingness to take action, it is truly heartwarming to see the eagerness with which people approached us, determined to prevent something like this happening yet again.”
Pauline Ferrick-Squibb who organized the gathering on Saturday and who is helping to run the petition said “My own daughter had to be rescued at this location several years ago and those of us who know the beach cannot understand why steps haven’t already been taken to better communicate the dangers and risk following the tragic events of the summer. I hope this momentum continues so we can have the petition presented to the Council, so they cannot ignore the calls from so many people to Make Rockley Point Safe”
The petition can be found on the BCP Council website by searching ‘petitions’ or via this link