Summer tragedies remind us not to be complacent

I really love living in this part of the world when the weather's lovely.

Monday, 29th August 2016, 6:00 am
The Hayling Island RNLI crew Picture: Tim Ash

Last week I ran along the seafront at sunset, dodging oodles of walkers, catching the whiff of an occasional barbecue and watching the sea become bathed in gold.

I can’t imagine not living by the sea now, or at least within a short drive of it. Seeing the sea soothes my soul, if it’s not too whimsical to say such a thing, and I love being on it, in it, looking at it and smelling it.

But she’s a dangerous mistress, unforgiving at times.

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The last two times I’ve been to the cinema I’ve been a little surprised to see the RNLI’s water safety adverts playing ahead of the feature film.

But should I have been?

Not when coming out of that cinema I go slap bang into a crowd of people heading into the bars of Gunwharf Quays for an evening of drinking and dancing – an evening of drinking and dancing that could very easily end up with an unexpected swim.

The Maritime Coastguard Agency has launched a similar advert, describing the dangers of cold water, especially after a drink.

It’s harrowing stuff and certainly reminds you that water can be a tricky beast.

But recent events have reminded me that even calm water can have hidden dangers.

The reason five young visitors to Camber Sands drowned last week has not yet been fully explained, but the sand bars hidden in the water could have had something to do with it.

And then there was the elderly man at Bognor who died in the water last Thursday after feeling unwell.

These things happened in broad daylight, with hundreds if not thousands of people nearby – surely proving that you need to be vigilant in the water, no matter what the conditions of your entry or how strong a swimmer you are.

There are only a few days left until the kids go back to school and we have to resign ourselves to the approaching autumn.

But until then I really hope I don’t read more stories of people dying in the water, whatever the circumstances.


As well as hoping to visit the indoor one in Calshott next year, I’ve been looking into the Mountbatten Velodrome to see what that has to offer.

Quite a lot, in fact. Not only can you take your own bike and not have to ride the scary fixed-wheel variants, but it’s a great way for beginner cyclists to gain confidence before pitting their wits against Portsmouth traffic.

It’s also a good way to get fit. But as the nights draw in the cyclists will be left in the dark, because the council and Parkwood Leisure can’t agree how to split a £250,000 bill to repair the electrics.

The council and Parkwood are committed to helping people get fit, but if they don’t resolve this soon the valuable resource will be so under-used that it’ll end up costing more and more to subsidise.


Well, they did it again!

Victorious was once again a triumph, with bigger bands than ever making Southsea Common the place to be on the bank holiday weekend.

For days I’ve been watching as stages have been built, tents put up in fields, generators installed, and all the time my own anticipation has been rising.

Once again I was there with my friends, running between stages in order to watch the bands I wanted to see and trying not to spend too much money on cider and burgers – I’ve got a bridesmaid’s dress to fit into in a fortnight!

The organisers do us proud, and already I can’t wait to see who’s going to be on the bill next year.

Bring on the camping and make it an event everyone can enjoy for the weekend.