THE mum and brother of a young sailor who died after a pub fight have delivered an emotional warning to students.
Ann and Jack Bartlett appeared at Portsmouth College yesterday as part of a campaign sending the stark message that one punch can kill.
They are backing police and safety campaigners after their 21-year-old son and brother Kyle Bartlett died in May 2009 following a fight in Portsmouth city centre.
Choking back tears, Ann told about 100 young people that after tests showed her son was brain-dead she took the difficult decision to switch off his life-support machine.
The 51-year-old said it was the worst day of her life and urged the youngsters to think twice before drinking and getting into fights.
‘I had to watch and wait and listen for my baby to stop breathing,’ she said.
‘How would you and your family feel if that happened to you? How would your family cope if you were put behind bars?’
She added: ‘My advice is to always stay safe and control your temper.’
Her 21-year-old son Jack joined her in addressing students and showing pictures of Kyle growing up and in hospital.
He said: ‘Losing Kyle tore our family apart, but now we are stronger than ever.
‘Talking about it like this has really helped, the worst you can do is bottle it up.
‘It is especially hard at this time of year but I have to try and stop other people going through this.’
The One Punch Can Kill campaign aims to deter drinkers from being seriously injured or killed by getting into potentially fatal fights during a night out. Hampshire police are working with the Safer Portsmouth Partnership to target drinking hot spots such as Guildhall Walk, Gunwharf Quays and Albert Road. Pubs, clubs and bars will carry posters with hard-hitting images to support the campaign.
After the talk college student Maryann Bushrod, 18, told Ann she had been deeply moved by her talk.
‘I felt scared hearing her speak because I’m due to have a baby next year,’ she said. ‘It made me think of how fast a life can be taken away.’
Kyle’s family are raising money for the Kyle Bartlett Memorial Fund and hope to use the money to set up a remembrance garden.
To donate to the Kyle Bartlett Memorial Fund visit kbmf.co.uk and for more information on the campaign go to saferportsmouth.org.uk.