Tributes to 15-year-old Chorley drowning victim

FUN LOVING Thomas Barton was swimming with friends

TRAGIC The platform in the middle of the lodge

TRIBUTES Flowers were left yesterday beside Birkacre Lodge, in Yarrow Valley Country Park, where Thomas died.

First published in News Blackpool Citizen: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A 15-YEAR-OLD boy drowned after getting into difficulty while swimming in a lake.

The death of Thomas Barton, described as a ‘loyal and caring teenager’, has led to warnings being issued about the dangers of swimming in open water during the current heatwave.

Thomas was with four friends at Birkacre Lodge, in Yarrow Valley Country Park, near Chorley, when the incident took place.

Many of the teenager’s friends gathered at the gates of the council-run park on Sunday evening waiting for news.

And yesterday more returned to the scene to pay their respects.

Thomas’ family said: “Thomas was very much loved and will be terribly missed by all of us. We are devastated.

“His mother Clare has lost her baby boy, and his father Simon has lost his best friend.

“Thomas attended Holy Cross High School, in Chorley, where he was very popular and had lots of friends. He really valued their friendship. At school he enjoyed science and computers.

“He was so good natured and fun loving.

“He also really enjoyed going remote control racing in Blackpool with his father and brothers where they had lads’ days out, and he used to love riding motorbikes and helping his dad repair them."

Thomas is also survived by his sister Rachel, 19, and brothers Matthew, 24, and Robert, 23.

John Taylor, a spokesman for Lancashire Fire and Rescue, said: “We had a report there were five youths, and one had gone under the water and his friends were very distressed about it.

They were stranded on a floating jetty in the middle of the lodge.

“The police, fire and ambulance services attended, and the crews went into the water to search, but did not find him alive.”

Wendy White, headteacher at Holy Cross, said: “Thomas was a terrifically loyal friend, and a very likeable young man who was always ready to help others. He had a heart of gold.”

She said a prayer service would be held to mourn his loss, and celebrate his life.

Thomas’ body was recovered at 11.10pm and retrieved by the police under-water team.

His friends were rescued by the Bowland Pennine Mountain Rescue Team.

Paul Durham, from the team, said: “It was very traumatic. We were tasked with rescuing the deceased’s four colleagues, who were stranded on a pontoon in the middle of the lodge.

“It was a pitiful sight, seeing his friends on the platform with their heads in their hands and the arrival of his family.”

Mr Taylor added: “Sadly, the combination of hot, dry weather and the temptation to cool off in rivers, ponds, and lakes, is something that takes a toll in lives on a regular basis.

“It is an extremely hazardous thing to do, as underwater currents, and the shock of the cold water, can mean that even strong, accomplished swimmers can get into difficulty.”

Comments (5)

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11:37am Tue 29 May 12

badref says...

I mentioned this story to my own son last night who was off to a reservoir to play with his mates. He looked at me with an air of invincibility. And therein lies the problem. However many times you tell young people of the dangers of swimming in warm weather, they believe because they can swim fifty metres in a pool, they are immune.
Of course my thoughts and prayers are with the family. Such a dreadful waste R.I.P
I mentioned this story to my own son last night who was off to a reservoir to play with his mates. He looked at me with an air of invincibility. And therein lies the problem. However many times you tell young people of the dangers of swimming in warm weather, they believe because they can swim fifty metres in a pool, they are immune. Of course my thoughts and prayers are with the family. Such a dreadful waste R.I.P badref
  • Score: 0

1:46pm Tue 29 May 12

JPB says...

an old workmate of mine(mitch) died in exactly the same circumstances a decade ago. such a shame as theyre only having a bit of fun, a sad way to go.
an old workmate of mine(mitch) died in exactly the same circumstances a decade ago. such a shame as theyre only having a bit of fun, a sad way to go. JPB
  • Score: 0

8:49pm Tue 29 May 12

pedrothebandit says...

i take the dog around this lake every week,last winter i was amazed to see kids on the lake writing there names far out on the ice its a wonder there havent been more deaths.could the councils at swimming lessons have a tank full of cold water to simulate the lakes that we lose so many young lads in to learn how its so easy to lose control of ones self,in cold water,really feel for family,who have tolose someone they love.gary.
i take the dog around this lake every week,last winter i was amazed to see kids on the lake writing there names far out on the ice its a wonder there havent been more deaths.could the councils at swimming lessons have a tank full of cold water to simulate the lakes that we lose so many young lads in to learn how its so easy to lose control of ones self,in cold water,really feel for family,who have tolose someone they love.gary. pedrothebandit
  • Score: 0

6:07pm Thu 31 May 12

cazza2011 says...

kids are kids and dont realise the dangers of swimming in open water but kids don,t am sure we have all done the same when we were the same age, having a son the same age and the thought of losing him, my heart goes out to all his family and those who knew him, RIP Thomas god bless such a sad, sad loss to such a young life xx
kids are kids and dont realise the dangers of swimming in open water but kids don,t am sure we have all done the same when we were the same age, having a son the same age and the thought of losing him, my heart goes out to all his family and those who knew him, RIP Thomas god bless such a sad, sad loss to such a young life xx cazza2011
  • Score: 0

6:08pm Thu 31 May 12

cazza2011 says...

kids are kids and dont realise the dangers of swimming in open water but kids don,t am sure we have all done the same when we were the same age, having a son the same age and the thought of losing him, my heart goes out to all his family and those who knew him, RIP Thomas god bless such a sad, sad loss to such a young life xx
kids are kids and dont realise the dangers of swimming in open water but kids don,t am sure we have all done the same when we were the same age, having a son the same age and the thought of losing him, my heart goes out to all his family and those who knew him, RIP Thomas god bless such a sad, sad loss to such a young life xx cazza2011
  • Score: 0

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