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.”