A memorial to a County Durham teenager who died in the River Wear while on a day out with friends has been unveiled at a spot he loved to ride his scooter.
A seat in memory of 14 year old Cameron Gosling has been sited beside the skatepark at Glenholme Park in his home town of Crook, where he would spend much of his time on his scooter.
The seat has been designed by Cameron’s friends, including his younger brother, working with a local sculptor.
It has been funded by Durham County Councillor for Crook and chairman of the authority’s 3 Towns Area Action Partnership (AAP) Andrea Patterson, who contributed £3,000 from her neighbourhood budget.
Cameron, a pupil at Parkside Academy at Willington, jumped into the river at Witton Park near Bishop Auckland in July 2015 without acclimatising, with the shock of the cold water causing him to get into difficulty and drown.
Cameron’s friends Ellis Hanley, 15, Matthew Wraith, 14 , Laura Cowan, 15, Liam Walsh, 16 , Kian Johnson, 16, and brother Curtis, 14, came up with the idea of a memorial seat at the skatepark.
With the support of Cameron’s mum Fiona Gosling, they approached the AAP which put them in touch with local sculptor Graeme Hopper.
The friends worked with Mr Hopper on the design of the seat. The structure has a metal back which incorporates a scooter in its design as well as a pair of boxing gloves – with the sport another of Cameron’s loves.
Curtis said: “Cameron will never be forgotten but we thought it would be nice to have some kind of physical memorial to him which we and his friends can visit. It’s fitting that the seat should be at the skatepark given how much time Cameron spent there and the inclusion of the scooter and boxing gloves make it the perfect tribute.
“On behalf of the group I’d like to thank the AAP for making this happen and Graeme who has done an excellent job.”
Sandy Denney, AAP coordinator, said: “When we found out what the young people were doing, the partnership was very keen to help. The seat is a truly beautiful addition to the park and a credit to the sculptor. Cameron was clearly well loved and we’re pleased to have played a part in setting up this memorial to him.”
Mrs Gosling has worked with the Safe Durham Partnership on its Dying to be Cool campaign which aims to raise awareness of ‘cold water shock’ among ten to sixteen year olds in the county.
Cold water shock is the body’s short term involuntary response to being suddenly immersed in cold water which can result in difficulty breathing and cardiac arrest.
The campaign involves assemblies on cold water shock, which have been delivered to 10,000 schoolchildren by the county council, while a Dying to be Cool video telling Cameron’s story has reached one million people on Facebook.