Reservoir swim student drowns
THE heartbroken mother of a teenager who drowned in a reservoir has told how she begged him not to go swimming.
Paul Lawson, 16, died on Monday at Greenbooth Reservoir in Rochdale.
It is understood the Hopwood Hall College student was swimming with pals at the beauty spot near Norden when he got into difficulties.
His friends desperately tried to rescue the Manchester United fan and underwater search teams were on the scene within minutes, but tragically he didn’t survive.
Paul’s mum Natalie Lawson, of Wardle, Rochdale, told how she had tried to persuade Paul, who has a younger sister Charlotte, aged eight, not to go to the reservoir.
She said: “It was just a tragic accident. I begged him not to go. I told him waters like that were dangerous, but he wouldn’t listen.
“His friends did all they could to keep him above water, but they couldn’t hold him. God knows what they must be going through now.
“You hear about things like this on the news and think ‘ What must the parents be thinking’ and now I’m in that situation.
“There’s just a void. I feel numb.
“How many more families are going to have to go through what I’m going through before kids stop swimming in reservoirs?”
Natalie, 35, also paid a touching tribute to her ‘football-mad’ son, who played for Hooley Bridge Celtic in Heywood and was studying a specialist football course at Hopwood Hall College in Middleton.
She said: “He was the life and soul of the party - he always got everyone smiling.
“He had lots and lots of friends and he would always stick up for them if they were in trouble.
“His sister doted on him - he was her hero. He was a proper big brother, very protective of her and they were really close.
“He helped me through some bad times and was there for the good times. He was my backbone.
“We used have a lot of banter with each other. Sometimes I was his mum, sometimes I felt like his best friend. He would say ‘ You’re my trendy young mum’ and said he was glad I was only 35 because we’d have lots of years together.
“You couldn’t have asked for a better son. He’ll always be my baby boy.”
Emergency services were called to Greenbooth at 5.55pm yesterday.
At that point Paul had been under the water for five minutes.
Divers searched the water, but tragically discovered his body.
Det Chief Insp John Harris said: “My sincerest condolences are with the boy’s family at hearing this heart-wrenching news.
“We are working closely with our partners and witnesses to the incident to understand the circumstances.”
Anyone with information should contact 101 quoting reference number 1911 of 19/06/17 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.
Emergency services attend the scene where Paul Lawson drowned in Greenbooth Reservoir