Tragedy families back campaign
The dangers of trespassing in quarries are being highlighted by the Mineral Products association latest Stay Safe campaign and it is being backed by two families affected by the issue. Both families lost teenage sons last year through accidents in quarries and are lending their support to the initiative.
The MPA has said that the annual Stay Safe campaign aims to raise awareness of the danger of trespassing in quarries. The initiative was launched ahead of the period when quarry managers report an annual surge in quarry trespass by people of all ages.
The organisation has said that in 2009 four teenage boys lost their lives in the UK in active or disused quarries. Among them 15-year-old son Ryan Walker drowned in a disused quarry in Ashover, Derbyshire, while 18-year-old Jay Harris fell over 30m while walking with friends in a quarry near Nuneaton in Warwickshire. The MPA approached their parents to back the campaign and feature in a new hard-hitting video about the effect the accidents have had on the boys’ family and friends.
“I don’t want other parents to feel how I feel or go through what our family has gone through,” explained Ryan’s mother Tracey Walker. “If I can save one person, or change one person’s mind about going in to a quarry - I’ll feel I’ve achieved so much.”
A Facebook page ‘Stay Safe … Stay Out of Quarries’ has also been launched and the MPA held five press conferences at quarries with trespass problems. Nearly 50 radio interviews took place and television coverage was achieved at a number of sites.
MPA Chief Executive Nigel Jackson said, “The Stay Safe campaign has evolved over recent years. We have moved the focus on to teenagers and specifically teenage boys, who are the biggest risk group for quarry trespass and fatalities. Our members do an excellent job in communicating the risks associated with the industry to younger children, but teenage boys are much more difficult to engage with.
“As a result we have used some very powerful testimony from the family and friends of Jay and Ryan, in the hope that this will deter teenagers from trespass or, at the very least, make them stop and think about the consequences of their actions.”