Orlando Nyero

The family of Orlando Nyero have paid tribute to the ‘caring’ university student, a year after he was found in the Rochdale Canal.

His death in June 2018, along with that of Charlie Pope earlier in the year, helped prompt a campaign calling for a review into safety around Manchester’s waterways.

In a statement his family said: “Orlando you meant so much to us, you cared about everybody and always wanted to help.

“Your smile alone warmed us, your laugh was like music to our ears and you always brighten up the darkest days. Life can never be the same for us without you, we miss your smile, jokes and how caring you were.

“We are left with your beautiful memories, your love is still our guide, although we cannot see you, you are always at our side. It is so hard to describe the amount of pain we experience as a family daily.

“Not a second passes when you’re not in our minds. We weep everyday because the pain is unbearable. But we know that goodbyes are not forever.

“Goodbyes are not the end. They simply mean we missed you, until we meet again in heaven. We love and missed you so much Orlando.”

The Royal Life Saving Society UK give the following safety advice about nights out and avoiding water:

  • Look out for each other when you’ve had a few drinks and make sure you walk home with friends
  • Plan your journey home before you go out
  • Don’t walk home alongside the water after a night out. Find a better route home
  • Make sure your friends get home safely after a night out. Don’t let them walk by the water

Read more.

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Drowning Prevention Week

National Drowning Prevention Week is being marked with a host of activities scheduled by Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) staff members, to promote safety in and around our waterways.

The dedicated week of action runs from April 29 to May 5 this year – led by the National Fire Chiefs’ Council and supported by fire and rescue services all over the UK.

In the coming weeks there will be three reach-poles installed along the Rochdale Canal, each at or close by to where someone has lost their life through drowning, as part of a partnership including a number or organisations, including GMFRS, Manchester City Council and the Canal and River Trust.

The installation of the poles will follow on from an ongoing initiative, where throwline boards are being installed at a number of reservoirs across Greater Manchester – to help those who find themselves in the water and also provide information which is given to control operators when 999 is dialled – allowing them to send firefighters to the exact location. As part of the initiative, throw-lines will be installed next week in Gorton.

GMFRS staff members and volunteers will  be getting involved in a student-focused event hosted by CityCo in St Ann’s Square in Manchester City Centre on Thursday, May 2, between 10am and 4pm – speaking with attendees to help prevent them getting into trouble around water.

Area Manager Damian O’Rourke from Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service said: “We are really pleased to be supporting Drowning Prevention Week again this year and want to take this is an opportunity to highlight the dangers of water and of the fantastic work our staff members and volunteers do keeping people safe.

“Our firefighters are trained in water rescue but sometimes it just isn’t possible to get to people in time to save them. We have sadly seen 17 people drown Greater Manchester in the last three years alone, with many others suffering injuries.

“As the warmer weather approaches we want to remind people about the dangers that come with swimming in reservoirs and other open water and also about taking care when out and about around canals – such as those in Manchester City Centre, which have sadly claimed too many lives. Please don’t walk alone along canals and always try and plan your journey home at the start of your night out.”

Councillor Nigel Murphy, Deputy Leader of Manchester City Council, said: “As well as installing new equipment to boost safety along our city centre canals, Manchester’s Water Safety Partnership is working hard to ensure that people understand the waterways and how to keep themselves safe.  I’d encourage everyone to take advantage of the events with our firefighters, which will help you to steer clear of danger by becoming water aware.”

Follow social media activity during the week using the hashtag #BeWaterAware

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Remembering Charlie – one year on

The father of Charlie Pope has paid tribute to his son on the one-year anniversary of his death.

The 19-year-old, a University of Manchester student, was reported missing in the early hours of March 1 last year and was found in Rochdale Canal in the city centre the following day.

Charlie’s heartbreaking death prompted a campaign calling for a review into the safety around Manchester’s waterways.

Father Nick Pope said: “It does not feel like a year. Sometimes it feels like it has gone by in a flash, other times it feels like it’s never ending.

“We have good days and bad days, and the bad days are very bad. Everybody deals with it differently and in their own way. As a family, we kind of all have our own way of dealing with it. This week is difficult for us and close friends as well, it brings it all back.”

The popular student’s death thrust canal safety into the spotlight. An independent safety review was commissioned by the Manchester Water Safety Partnership, which proposed a host of recommendations after confirming there had been 28 water-related deaths in the city centre zone since 2007.

Nick, who was recently appointed as a special advisor to the Manchester Water Safety Partnership, believes campaigners have had a massive affect.

He said: “When you look back, what does seem remarkable is how much we have achieved. People should be very proud, they can say we made a difference. We can change things for the better.

“From a personal perspective, we’re just pleased and proud we have honoured Charlie. Hopefully we have made a change that will prevent further deaths. If that’s the case, that’s a fantastic outcome.”

Charlie’s family will mark the first anniversary of life without their youngest son on Friday 1 March, with a small gathering, before joining his friends at a pub.

In an attempt to turn the anniversary from a “negative” into a “positive”, the heartbroken family have named March 1 “Charlie’s Good Deed Day”.

The family hope Charlie will be remembered through acts of random kindness from strangers across the North East and beyond.

Nick said: “We were thinking about the anniversary and what we could do to make it a more positive day.

“We talked about it as a family, and this is the sort of thing Charlie would like. It’s turning a negative into something more positive. It is something simple everyone can celebrate and get involved in.”

Find out more about Charlie’s Good Deed Day.

Read full story and interview from the Manchester Evening News.

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Special Advisor appointed to Partnership

The Manchester Water Safety Partnership has unveiled Nick Pope as a special advisor as they look to improve safety around Manchester’s waterways. 

Nick has become an advocate for water safety following the tragic death of his son, Charlie, in the Rochdale Canal in March 2018.

Picture of Nick Pope

Welcoming Nick, Chairman of the Water Safety Partnership, David Wilson said: “I am really pleased to have Nick join the Partnership to assess and challenge what we do and work together to reduce deaths from drowning in the waterways of Manchester.

“The Manchester Water Safety Partnership has been working for a number of years to improve the safety of the waterways in the city centre and, although the number of deaths has reduced, we firmly believe that one death is one too many. We are committed to continuing our work by implementing all the recommendations of the RoSPA report which has provided us with expert guidance in water accident prevention”.

Following his appointment, Nick said: “Since Charlie’s death there has been action taken and I commend the Partnership for commissioning the independent report and committing themselves to implementing that in full. I think it will go a long way to preventing future deaths.

“Charlie was a cracking lad who loved Manchester and I would like to thank everyone there for their support, by working together I hope we will see change and prevent similar incidents in the future”.  

Following two deaths in Manchester’s waterways in early 2018, the Manchester Partnership commissioned the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) to write an independent report on the safety of Greater Manchester’s waterways.

Having received the report they have already begun addressing some of the recommendations and are formulating a comprehensive action plan to address the recommendations in full.

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Water Safety Review

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) was commissioned by members of Manchester Water Safety Partnership (MWSP) to conduct an independent review of open-water safety within the Manchester city centre zone.

The review considered responsibilities, policy expectations and an analysis of fatal and non-fatal events, in addition to an assessment and evaluation of the water bodies within the city centre. The principal output is a series of recommendations with the aim of improving water safety. The review was conducted throughout summer 2018.  

Read the report

Media enquiries

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Don’t Drink and Drown

A picture of the Don't Drink and Drown campaign banner

Don’t Drink and Drown is a national campaign by the Royal Life Saving Society UK that warns drinkers to steer clear of walking by or entering water when under the influence of alcohol. A national campaign week will run from 3 to 9 December 2018.

Research indicates that around a quarter of all adult drowning victims have alcohol in their bloodstream.

The campaign was launched following a string of tragic student drownings. It has two targeted time frames through the year where RLSS UK and partners push messaging these are September and December.


  • Don’t enter the water if you have been drinking
  • Alcohol seriously affects your ability to get yourself out of trouble
  • Look out for your friends, make sure they get home safely
  • Don’t walk home near water, you might fall in

Effects of alcohol on the body

  • Alcohol lowers inhibitions, leading to impaired judgment which means you are more likely to take risks and get into trouble
  • Alcohol limits muscle ability making simple movements much harder
  • Alcohol slows down your reactions making it more difficult to get yourself out of trouble
  • Alcohol numbs the senses particularly sight, sound and touch, making swimming very difficult

The Evidence

There were 366 accidental drownings involving alcohol and/or drugs in the United Kingdom from 2012-2016, that’s an average of 73 per year.

Visit the RLSS UK website for more information and campaign materials.


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Students get their beer goggles

Hosted by Manchester’s Business Improvement District, the Water Safety Partnership attended the biannual student social event to raise awareness of water safety in the city to new and existing students for the start of the autumn term.

With the use of ‘beer goggles’ we demonstrated to the students the importance of safety by water when under the influence of alcohol as well as raising why people should stick together and look out for each other when enjoying the night life that the city has to offer.

A picture of fire service station manager Dave Wilson talking to students

MWSP chair Dave Wilson chats to students

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Winter water safety

Drowning Prevention charity, the Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK) has tips to help you know what to do in an emergency.

In winter, children and pets are particularly at risk when tempted to play on the ice formed on open water, and adults can find themselves at risk in attempting to save them.

Taking a nice walk in cold weather with your family, friends or dogs in tow can be really refreshing, just make sure you know some simple tips on how to stay safe in winter.

Areas with frozen lakes, ponds, canals and reservoirs can be beautiful places to visit during the winter months but all too often many people risk their lives by venturing onto frozen water.


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Lifesaving training for staff and businesses

The Manchester Water Safety Partnership held free lifesaving training to bars and businesses in Manchester as part of the national Drowning Prevention Week (23 to 29 April 2018).

The training, which is regularly offered to waterside businesses, was delivered by Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service and supported by the Manchester Water Safety Partnership. It raises awareness amongst bar and door security staff about how to recognise and support those most at risk, as well as how to help rescue people who have got into difficulty in the water.

The aim is to help ensure customers choose safe routes home after a night out and rescue people with a throw line if they have ended up in the water.

David Wilson, Station Manager at GMFRS and chair of the Manchester Water Safety Partnership, said: “During the past four years we have rescued 25 people from rivers and canals in and around the Manchester City Centre area. Tragically eight of these were fatal incidents. Manchester is a fantastic and vibrant city and we want everyone to enjoy their time in the city, but unfortunately alcohol and drug consumption are a significant factor in many drownings. We want to urge people to take care when on a night out and always be water aware for you and your friends.”

David Baldacchino, local waterway manager with Canal & River Trust, said: “The Canal & River Trust is pleased to support Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service on this lifesaving training event which has been running for the last few years. It’s critical that staff in Manchester’s bars and clubs are given the right advice and training to help prevent people ending up in the water or to know how to assist them if they do.”

The story as featured on ITV’s Granada Reports news programme:

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