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Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Read how Mum watched in horror as teenager drowned in reservoir - unaware it was her own son

CavendishTragic: Melanie Goodship says her 'heart just sank' after she realised she was watching her 17-year-old son James drown A mum watched in horror as a teenager drowned in a reservoir - unaware the victim was her own son. Melanie Goodship, 40, was walking her dogs when she saw a group of screaming and weeping youngsters in difficulty after a makeshift raft they were playing on drifted out of control. The civil servant went to the group's aid only to learn her son James, 17, had disappeared under the freezing water. She tried to ring his phone in desperation but his body was found in Lake Burwain in Colne, Lancashire, the following morning. Speaking after her son's inquest, Mrs Goodship said: "When we were walking the dogs around the reservoir we saw all the commotion but not for one minute did we know it might be James until we saw a couple of his friends. "I was trying to phone James but there was no answer but I was thinking it's ringing so he can't be in the water because it was ringing but what we didn't know is his phone had been left on the side. "My heart just sank but we couldn't have done anything. We were too far away. By this time the air ambulance had landed. He must have been under for some time at that point. "All his friends watched it happen. It's terrible. I wouldn't want any family to go through what we have. If we can just get the education out there to the children of the dangers of open water, that is one of the most important things for us." The inquest was told how James - who was described a good swimmer - and had just finished his first year of a plumbing apprenticeship had joined six friends for a summer's walk around the reservoir on June 22. The group spotted the raft by a jetty and decided to have a look. CavendishJames GoodshipThe reservoir where James drowned Keaton Greaves, 16, told the inquest how the group lost control of the raft: "We jumped down onto the wooden jetty onto the raft which was attached with a rope. But we drifted away from the shore towards the middle of the reservoir. "Most of us tried to paddle with our hands but it didn't work the current was quite strong forcing us the other way. I wasn't scared or worried but I knew we had to get the raft back." After about an hour, the group decided they had to do something and estimated the vessel was about 50 metres from the shore. Mr Greaves said: "I decided to try to swim to shore to get help. James said he was going to swim as well. "I sat down on the edge of the raft and slipped into the water. I took a couple of strokes out into the water and James dived in after me. "I started to feel exhausted, the weight of clothes weighing me down, pulling me down." He added that the friends who were still aboard the raft started to call for him to come back and that James had been ahead of him. Mr Greaves said that he began to make his way towards the raft swimming on his back whilst trying to keep his head up and said: "I was so tired. I knew I wasn't going to make it to the shore. I could hear James but I couldn't see him. As I got near the raft I was really struggling. I have never felt anything like it, it just froze your body, I couldn't move, it was horrible." Mr Greaves was pulled aboard and lay on the raft "freezing cold" as everyone covered him up. But he described how the group saw James drown in the water. James GoodshipJames with his mum Mel He told the inquest: "I heard the others shouting 'go on you're nearly there' I couldn't see where he was. "I did hear him shout for help at one point. I knew when I heard him he was in trouble because I knew how he felt. The others on the boat saw him go under, when he didn't come up everyone started crying." A search and rescue operation was launched the following day at 5.30am and James' body was recovered by underwater search units. Eyewitness Paul Bleasdale said: "I heard a splash in the water and I decided to call the local police because I knew the water was cold. I told the operator there were kids in the water and appeared to be having fun and they said they'd send someone when they could. "Soon after the laughs changed to shouts and I saw two kids swimming, it looked as if one had gone in after the other." He added that he heard a male voice say "I can't do it" as he swam towards the two girls sat on the side who became "hysterical, crying and shouting". James' uncle Paul Goodship told the inquest: "James was a fun loving lad who loved life always had a smile on his face and managed to put a smile on most other people's face too. " He was always full of adventure and even though he was very brash and sometimes wanted to be Mr hardman he was a very caring lad. It's probably been one of the hardest parts of his character and nature that we have missed. He brought people together he just had that sort of personality and character." Recording a verdict of accidental death, East Lancashire Coroner Richard Taylor said: "This appears to me to be a very very cruel accident that has taken this young man away."