Scotland

Special assembly for drowned Glasgow schoolboy

Declan Shanley
Image caption Declan Shanley drowned after going to the aid of a friend

A special assembly has been held at a Glasgow school to remember a 13-year-old pupil who drowned after jumping into a river to rescue a friend.

Declan Shanley, from Summerston, was swept away in the River Kelvin, near the West of Scotland Science Park on Saturday evening.

Vincent Docherty, head teacher at the John Paul Academy, said Declan was a "popular and lovely" boy.

His death has prompted safety warnings about playing near open water.

Support and counselling has been made available to his classmates, other pupils and teachers at the secondary school.

Police and fire officers will be touring schools this week before they break up for the holidays, highlighting the dangers of swimming in Scotland's rivers and canals.

On Sunday a 20-year-old man also died while swimming with friends in Loch Lubnaig in Stirlingshire.

Declan and his friends had been playing in shallow water at about 1830 BST on Saturday when one of them got into difficulty.

Declan and another boy jumped in to help her but Declan was swept away.

An extensive search and rescue operation, involving police, Strathclyde Fire and Rescue and a helicopter, was carried out.

A fire officer from Knightswood Community Fire Station later located Declan in a deep pool in the river at about 2030 BST.

He was taken by ambulance to the city's Western Infirmary but pronounced dead on arrival.

Chris Firth, commander at Knightswood fire station, said: "In the hot weather children are attracted to the water but there are a number of risks involved.

"You don't have lifeguards and there can be hidden underwater hazards and strong currents.

"It can be difficult to get out of the water. I would say to youngsters: 'please be aware of the risks'."

'Loveable rouge'

School friends of Declan have left tributes of flowers, candles and football shirts at the riverbank.

The 13-year-old's uncle, Raymond Shanley, 37, said the family was "devastated".

Declan's head teacher Vincent Docherty said pupils had learnt a "very, very hard lesson" about the dangers of playing near water.

He said: "Declan I would describe as a loveable rogue, with a mischievous wee face, glasses and a smile that would light up any room.

"He was a popular boy and he'll be sorely missed.

Image caption Family and friends have left tributes to Declan by the river

"We've spoken to all the children at our assembly and some of them are quite upset."

Chf Insp Graeme Clarke told BBC Scotland: "I spent a considerable amount of time with Declan's family yesterday and the message that they have asked me to take back to everybody is please do not go near the Kelvin because it is a very dangerous river.

"They don't want another family to go through the heartache they are going through at the moment."

He added: "I would like to develop that message a bit further and make a plea to all the kids who are about to finish up school.

"The weather is very nice and it is all too tempting to look at a river and think there is no harm.

"But there is harm and unfortunately the tragic events of Saturday evening demonstrate that."

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