THE parents of a teenager who drowned in Worcester have made an emotional return to the riverside almost a year after his death.

Tom Jones died aged 18 after disappearing while on a night out in the city in September 2018 during his first week as a student at the University of Worcester.

His body was later discovered in the River Severn.

His parents Ian and Vicki Jones returned to Worcester a week before the first anniversary of his death - and said they had a mission to prevent any further drowning deaths.

Mrs Jones said: "It is definitely emotional coming down here again, especially as it is nearly a year on from what happened.

"We are so grateful to all the friends and family who have helped us through it, and even people we don't know from organisations and charities that have offered support."

A coroner gave an open verdict into Tom's death and said there was no evidence that proved what had happened to Tom.

But he said he believed the teenager either went to the river to urinate and slipped in, or went down to the water after possibly hearing a cry for help, picked up on CCTV audio, and fell in the water.

Mrs Jones said Tom's family wanted to ensure that no other family suffered as they had.

She said: "We have played our part in a tragic way in raising awareness of the dangers of water and we don't want another family to have to go through what we've been through."

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Tom's father Ian said: "We had no idea how much support was out there until we needed it from charities and counsellors.

"You never know what help is out there until you go through something like this."

The couple were speaking at an event to promote the 'Home and Dry' campaign, which seeks to educate the public on the dangers of cold water shock and help prevent more drowning deaths.

Representatives from West Mercia Police, the Royal Life Saving Society, Herefordshire and Worcestershire Fire and Rescue Service and the University of Worcester met near Worcester Rowing Club for demonstrations of how to use the line bag safety equipment, designed to be thrown to someone in the water who is struggling.

The event, held yesterday, was part of a wider initiative to give members of the public the skills, confidence and equipment to save lives in the water, while educating them on staying away from the water.

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Mrs Jones said: "It is a really positive thing that has come out of this and seeing all these people here means so much.

"There needs to be a really strong message for students in Worcester, not just for this year, but we have a vision for this to be the start of something bigger, promoting this message year in, year out."

Tom's disappearance in September 2018 sparked a 10-day search for him.

The student had told his parents he was tired and would probably go straight to bed, when they dropped him back at university, but he changed his mind and went out with his friends.

After several unanswered calls and texts, Mr and Mrs Jones were called by one of Tom's flatmates saying he hadn't been home.

There was an outpouring of grief after his death with hundreds of people attending a candlelit vigil in his honour on Sabrina Bridge.