A PRIMARY school in Nether Wallop has received a special visit from a helicopter bearing water safety gifts.

Wallop Primary School were visited by a helicopter piloted by Peter Faulding of Specialist Group International on May 17, to deliver an important message about The Lucas Dobman Water Safety Campaign.

He also made a donation of eight life-jackets to the school for the children to use.

The children were so excited as they lined the playground and directed the helicopter to land on the school field. Although the school sits adjacent to the Middle Wallop Army Air base and they see helicopters all the time, it is still really special to have one land in front of them.

The Lucas Dodman Water Safety Campaign is a legacy to six-year-old Lucas Dobson who, tragically, drowned in the River Stour in August 2019.

The campaign was set up by Nathan Dobson, father of Lucas, and Peter Faulding, CEO of Specialist Group International – the underwater search team which recovered Lucas’ body after a long search.

Lucas slipped off a boat dock and fell into the river. The strong undercurrents of the River Stour instantly pulled Lucas under and made it impossible to rescue him. Emergency services were mobilised and were on scene within minutes, and thousands of volunteers from the local communities gave their service and time in the search for Lucas. An intense search continued for four days with specialist divers from Specialist Group International searching the riverbed using sonar equipment and touch in the murky water, with the entire nation gripped in sorrow awaiting the inevitable outcome. Sadly, Lucas’s body was eventually recovered from the river.

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Helen Williams, Year 4/5 teacher, said: "Peter Faulding gave an informative and insightful talk to the children about the importance of water safety. His personal experience really resonated with the whole school and brought an increased awareness of safety procedures when around bodies of water. Peter spoke passionately about the Lucas Dobson campaign and the aims and goals to ensure children's safety around water. We now have brand new life jackets in school that Wallop Primary families will be able to borrow to keep their children safe. A huge thankyou to Peter for sharing his experiences and knowledge with the children."

Peter Faulding flew into the school to donate the lifejackets as the campaign would like to see Lucas Dobson lifejackets in every school across the UK and want to see children and families automatically borrow a lifejacket when planning a trip or day out that involves water.

Wallop Primary School were given eight lifejackets to use when they complete curriculum work near water, but also to use as a 'lifejacket library' where anyone associated with the school can borrow them if they are planning to go near water.

The campaign was started to raise awareness of the dangers of water and promote water safety and Peter wants to get this message to as many people as possible. After spending the morning at Wallop, he got back into his helicopter and flew across to a school in Cardiff to spread the same message.

The campaign aims at promoting awareness of the dangers of water and making it easier for children to play safely near or on water thereby preventing any other child from drowning.

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