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Saturday, 27 December 2014

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Councillors fund swimming project after man dies in Thirlmere

Community projects across Allerdale have been given a £26,000 boost, with councillors giving cash for cut price swimming after a young man died in Thirlmere.

The Allerdale local committee gave £5,000 to help fund a subsidised swimming programme for young people aged up to 19 across the area.

Gerald Humes, chair of the committee, said the tragedy at Thirlmere reservoir, in which a 27-year-old man died during the summer,- had “highlighted the risks in our beautiful area”.

“We know that between 40 and 50 young people die from drowning every year,” he said.

“We wanted to do something which would reduce the risks to our children. Our funding has enabled 2,300 children to benefit from the 10p swims – that’s also created a great opportunity for young people to enjoy the good weather we’ve had over the past couple of months.”

Muhammad Bilal Bhaty, 28, from Pakistan, had been in the water with his 22-year-old sister when the pair were spotted in distress.

They got into difficulty – probably caused by the cold water, say police – near the Kings Head Hotel , six miles from Keswick.

It is understood they may only have been a few metres out when tragedy struck.

A council spokesperson said they had been in talks with Allerdale since the scheme was first proposed and were keen to play a part in it.

“We wanted to help young people to benefit from wider access to a safe swimming environment,” he said.

Other grants given out include a total of £13,835 to Cumbria Festivals Group to fund crowd barriers they can lend to festivals across the area at reduced rates.

The county council agreed the money at a meeting of Allerdale local committee yesterday. Around £5,500 will fund a programme of coaching sessions and events inspired by the Rugby World cup being hosted in Workington for children and young people aged up to 19.

Other beneficiaries include £600 to Copeland Canoe Club to replace equipment and £1,669 to the Allerdale branch of the Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Mr Humes said the money gave “a tremendous boost” to schemes across the area.

“These projects are making a real difference across Allerdale,” he said.

“As a local committee, we recognise the valuable contribution they make to our communities and are very pleased to be able to support them.”

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