Work to make Gullet Quarry safer is completed, in the wake of two drownings last year

2:25pm Wednesday 9th April 2014

WORK at the Gullet Quarry lake to make it safer after two young people drowned there last summer has been completed.

Malvern Hills Conservators commissioned the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) to make recommendations in the wake of two deaths within a week of each other in July.

The two who died were 22-year-old Justas Juzenas from Ross-on-Wye and Russell O’Neill, aged 17, of Worcester. Three other people have died in the lake since 1995.

Although there were calls for the water-filled quarry, a popular spot on hot summer days, to be drained or filled in, most people thought it should stay open.

Now RoSPA's recommended safety works are complete, but the Conservators are also stressing the message that the lake is not for swimming.

Director Stephen Bound said: "The new safety measures make it extremely clear that people should not enter the water. We urge people to be responsible and not to put themselves at risk by swimming in the lake at Gullet Quarry."

A post-and-rail fence has been erected to act as a physical and psychological barrier, indicating that people should not enter the water.

New signs have been put up highlighting the dangers of swimming, and giving the site's postcode and grid reference in case of emergency.

Thorny shrubs have been planted around the water’s edge to act as a barrier and deter people from sunbathing around the lake. And a throw line has been provided if anyone does get into difficulties in the lake.

The Conservators are also writing to secondary schools throughout Worcestershire, Herefordshire and Gloucestershire asking them to highlight to their pupils the dangers of swimming in open water.

In the wake of last summer's deaths, a Malvern Gazette poll showed that 68 per cent of respondents said the quarry should be kept open, 21 per cent wanted it drained, and 11 per cent said it should be fenced off. Swimming in the quarry is illegal under the Malvern Hills Conservators' bylaws.

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