Sailor’s death sparks mother’s campaign against drink dangers

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A HEARTBROKEN mum is campaigning to highlight the dangers of binge drinking and violence in the wake of her son’s tragic death following a fight at a bar.

Sailor Kyle Bartlett died after being punched during a brawl at the Walkabout bar in Portsmouth’s notorious Guildhall Walk. Mum-of-four Ann had to make the devastating decision to switch off the 21-year-old’s life support the day after the incident, which took place at about 11pm on May 5, 2009.

Now the 51-year-old, from Liss, is battling through her grief to set up the Kyle Bartlett Memorial Fund to raise awareness of the dangers of binge drinking and alcohol-related violence.

She also hopes to raise more than £112,000 for a memorial bench and an adventure play park, which she hopes to have built on a Royal Navy accommodation site in Portsmouth, to help keep Kyle’s memory alive.

Using the slogan ‘One Punch Can Kill’ with the backing of Greater Manchester Police, who set up the original campaign, Ann hopes to take a presentation on Kyle’s life and the tragic circumstances surrounding his death to schools, colleges, youth groups and licensees in the Portsmouth area.

Speaking publicly for the first time since her son’s death, Mrs Bartlett said: ‘I felt that something has got to be done. I will not let Kyle’s memory rest. Greater Manchester Police were doing the One Punch Can Kill campaign and I thought “that’s the way to go”.

‘The coroner’s report said one punch killed Kyle.

‘I’m going to make a presentation of Kyle’s life and the way he died. I want to take it into Portsmouth because that’s where I think there’s a need for it. I have been approached by colleges, secondary schools and junior schools to take it into them. This is not just to do with Kyle, it’s about the whole culture of binge drinking and alcohol-related violence. People need to realise that just one punch can land them in so much trouble.’

Mrs Bartlett says she has still not come to terms with the death of her son – who would have celebrated his 23rd birthday tomorrow. But she has vowed to carry on in his memory.

She added: ‘The worst thing I have ever had to do in my life is turn off a life support and wait for my son’s heart to stop beating. He had so much to live for, he was going for promotion – it’s just such a waste.

‘I’m not expecting people to stop drinking because I know they won’t, but I need them to drink responsibly.’