‘I begged him not to swim there’ – mum

Middleton Guardian - - FRONT PAGE -

PAUL Law­son’s heart­bro­ken mother told how she begged him not to go swim­ming.

Natalie Law­son, from War­dle, said 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.”

Natalie, 35, thanked the friends who tried to save him, say­ing: “They all tried their hard­est to save him. He kept go­ing back down and they kept try­ing to lift him up.

“I want to thank them so much for try­ing their best and for all they did for him.

“I have to say that I could not ask for a bet­ter group of friends for my son Paul.”

“God knows what they must be go­ing through now.”

Natalie paid a touch­ing trib­ute to her ‘foot­ball­mad’ son, who played for Hoo­ley Bridge Celtic in Hey­wood and was study­ing a spe­cial­ist foot­ball course at Hop­wood Hall Col­lege.

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.”

Natalie said the amaz­ing sup­port from friends and fam­ily were help­ing her through her pain – but Paul’s death, she said, still doesn’t seem real.

“It’s not sunk in Natalie added.

“I keep ex­pect­ing him to walk through the door from col­lege.

“I know I’m in shock, and I know it will hit me when we say good­bye at the fu­neral. But right now it just doesn’t seem real.

“I don’t want it to be real. yet,” It’s like I’m liv­ing a night­mare.

You hear about things like this on the news and think ‘What must the par­ents must 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?”

Hop­wood Hall Col­lege has an­nounced they are to re­tire Paul’s num­ber 28 foot­ball jer­sey in his hon­our.

A spokesman for the col­lege said: “Paul was a great mem­ber of our sec­ond team and a fan­tas­tic per­son­al­ity off the pitch. You would truly be hard pressed to find some­one at this academy who would have a bad word to say about him.”

Ca­role Fisher, head­teacher at Paul’s former school War­dle Academy, also paid trib­ute to him. She said: “He was a much-loved young man with a happy and suc­cess­ful life ahead of him. He will be very much missed. Our thoughts are with his fam­ily.”

Emer­gency ser­vices at the scene of the tragedy and (in­set) Paul’s mum Natalie Law­son

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