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Preston water safety campaigner nominated for Petition Campaign of the Year Award

10 February 2022

Beckie Ramsay been nominated for the Petition Campaign of the Year Award at the Your UK Parliament Awards.

The Petition Campaign of the Year Award celebrates the inspiring people who have used petitions started on Parliament’s petitions website to build support for their campaigns for change. Beckie’s nomination follows her campaigning on the issue of water safety.

Beckie, from Preston, started the petition “Increase curriculum content about water safety as part of swimming lessons” after her son Dylan drowned in 2011 after getting into difficulty while swimming in a disused quarry with friends. The petition received more than 108,000 signatures.

In the ten years since Dylan’s death, Beckie has worked with the police and sector bodies such as the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RLNI) to raise awareness of the risks of open water. She has also spoken about water safety to over 180,000 children in schools, and was awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) for ‘services to the Prevention of Water Related Accidents’.

Ahead of the petition being debated in Parliament, the Chair of the Petitions Committee, Catherine McKinnell MP invited Beckie and other families affected by drowning to share their experiences with her in a virtual roundtable. Catherine McKinnell also met virtually with representatives of the RNLI, Swimming Teachers Association, the Royal Life Saving Society and others to understand the wider context to the campaign and the work these bodies are doing to raise awareness.

Responding for the Government in the debate, the then-Minister for School Standards Nick Gibb MP agreed to meet with Beckie, Neil Parish MP, and stakeholders including the RNLI to discuss this issue and identify actions that could be taken to address their concerns. At this meeting, the Minister committed to establishing a water safety panel to look into how best to improve water safety education in England.

The Your UK Parliament Awards judging panel will select the winners shortly, and the full list of nominees and the winner will be announced in due course. The panel includes MPs, members of the House of Lords, campaigning bodies, and past Award winners.

The other nominees

  • Dr Daniel Allen, Debbie Matthews, Dr Marc Abraham, Freya Woodhall, Beverley Cuddy, and John Cooper QC, for their campaign calling for pet theft to be made a specific criminal offence
  • Tim Brennan and Ian Smith, for their campaign calling on the Government to negotiate visa- and work permit-free EU travel for touring artists
  • Elaine Cunningham and Brian Mcelderry, for their campaign calling for commercial kitchens to be allowed to store inhalers for emergency use

Catherine McKinnell MP, Chair of the Petitions Committee, comments

“These campaigns demonstrate so powerfully how petitions can raise awareness of issues that might otherwise struggle to be heard in Parliament.

“The nominees have each shown how to organise a successful campaign, building on their petitions by gathering support from others affected by the same issue, charities, influential supporters, and the wider public.

“I have been moved by our nominees’ passion, determination, and ideas for how to tackle the problems they’ve set their minds to, and congratulate them on their achievements.”

The Your UK Parliament Awards

The annual Your UK Parliament Awards recognise the individuals across the UK who have taken democratic action on the issues they care about. In addition to the Petitions Campaign of the Year Award, there are a further seven categories, which celebrate individuals, schools, and organisations who have made a difference in their communities and beyond.

Further Information

Image: Beckie Ramsay