Safety victory at canal death site

CANAL safety campaigners praised waterways bosses this week after new safety measures were introduced at the spot where a schoolboy drowned.

Mexborough lad Matthew Cartwright, eight, fell into a canal at Swinton and died while out picking blackberries with a friend in August last year.

British Waterways bosses have now planted extra vegetation along the canal bank and installed temporary fencing to keep people from going near the water’s edge.

This comes after a joint campaign between the South Yorkshire Times, residents and relatives of Matthew for better safety measures at the site, off Talbot Road.

Campaigner Tracey Davies, who lives close to the scene of the tragedy, said: “The extra vegetation should stop people from being able to get into the water.

“We have been holding meetings with British Waterways ever since Matthew died to see what could be done so we are relieved that initial safety measures are now in place.”

More than 800 people signed a petition calling for British Waterways to look at improving safety along the canal, such as having life preservers and warning signs at the waterside.

The organisation has said they will look at what further security measures can be put in place once the inquest into Matthew’s death has been concluded. The hearing is due to be held at Rotherham Coroners’ Court on Wednesday, January 25.

Matthew’s grandmother Wendy said: “We are pleased that they have at least done something at the site, but we would like some Danger: Deep Water signs putting up aswell.

“We are also going to plant a tree at the scene with a stone bearing Matthew’s name.

“We want to do what we can to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”

School friends of Matthew have created a 25m long mural of him in Mexborough.

There are also plans to place a memorial bench at the canal and for a play area in his name.