Family vow to continue canal safety fight

RELATIVES of a drowning victim have vowed to fight on for safety improvements at the scene of the tragedy - despite being told by waterways bosses there are no plans for action at present.

Matthew Cartwright, eight, fell into the canal near Talbot Road, Swinton, while picking blackberries.

He died in hospital the next day.

The Mexborough schoolboy’s family have been campaigning for safety improvements since the tragedy last August, and with support from the South Yorkshire Times, they gathered around 1000 names on a petition. But following the inquest into Matthew’s death in January, British Waterways said they “don’t have any further plans for the site” at the moment.

Waterways chiefs this week vowed to continue working with the family, but Matthew’s grandparents said they are frustrated that more progress has not been made.

Grandma Wendy said: “All along they have said they will look at long term safety improvements after Matthew’s inquest.

“I want us to come out fighting, if this means organising names on a petition again then so be it.”

Grandad Kevin added: “We are happy with some of the progress that has been made, but we want things to start progressing quicker now.

“We have been asking for a warning sign to be put at the scene and we won’t stop until we are satisfied.”

Since the tragedy, British Waterways has planted extra vegetation along the canal bank to stop people gaining access to the water’s edge and rolled out a safety programme in schools.

Despite stating last week there are no further plans at present, a spokesperson said on Tuesday: “We remain committed to working with Matthew’s family as we have done in implementing some short term measures at the site.

“The situation requires a careful, considered approach in which we are mindful of the coroner’s report and the involvement of Matthew’s family.

“We’ve spoken to Matthew’s family today and will continue to work with them, and the local community, to gather their thoughts and ideas.”