Hope in fight for bar­ri­ers at canal where stu­dent was found dead

Glossop Advertiser - - News - Char­lotte Dob­son and Chris Knight

IN what would be a huge vic­tory for safety cam­paign­ers, bar­ri­ers could be in­stalled next to a canal where a Manch­ester stu­dent was found dead.

Char­lie Pope’s body was dis­cov­ered in the Rochdale Canal in Manch­ester city cen­tre on March 2 af­ter dis­ap­pear­ing on a night out.

The tragic 19-year-old’s death thrust canal safety into the spot­light, and prompted a pe­ti­tion for bar­ri­ers to be placed along the city’s water­ways.

More than 96,000 peo­ple have signed the pe­ti­tion since Char­lie’s death af­ter his heart­bro­ken fa­ther, Nick Pope, launched the #make- char­li­ethe­last cam­paign.

Nick, from Northum­ber­land, at­tended a meet­ing in Manch­ester last week to dis­cuss the pre­lim­i­nary find­ings of an in­de­pen­dent safety re­port from the Royal So­ci­ety for the Pre­ven­tion of Ac­ci­dents (RoSPA).

Greater Manch­ester Mayor Andy Burn­ham, rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the city’s uni­ver­si­ties and night-time econ­omy, as well as mem­bers of Manch­ester’s Wa­ter Safety Part­ner­ship, were also present.

Fi­nance direc­tor Nick said talks had been ‘pro­duc­tive’.

He said: “The meet­ing was big­ger than I ex­pected, it was a good rep­re­sen­ta­tion of peo­ple.

“It was a good talk about what had been achieved to date. I was happy with it, I found it re­ally pro­duc­tive.

“The dis­cus­sions were about the re­port and what could be done. I was shown an ar­chi­tect’s draw­ing of what bar­ri­ers around the lock where Char­lie died would look like, which is good news.

“There seemed to be quite a pos­i­tiv­ity in the room to do some­thing about this, and mak­ing Manch­ester a blue­print for other cities to fol­low.”

Nick hopes the fi­nal RoSPA re­port could be pub­lished next month.

A Canal and Rivers Trust spokesman said: “The trust very much wel­comes yes­ter­day’s con­struc­tive meet­ing called by mayor Andy Burn­ham with the city coun­cil, Mr Pope, rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the night-time econ- omy, uni­ver­si­ties, and other mem­bers of Manch­ester’s Wa­ter Safety Part­ner­ship.

“Col­lec­tively we are await­ing the re­port from the Royal So­ci­ety for the Pre­ven­tion of Ac­ci­dents, which has been asked to in­de­pen­dently ex­am­ine safety across Manch­ester’s water­ways, which will guide our fu­ture plans.”

Coun Pat Kar­ney, city cen­tre spokesman for Manch­ester coun­cil, said: “Fol­low­ing a con­struc­tive meet­ing of the mem­bers of the Manch­ester Wa­ter Safety Part­ner­ship with Mr Pope and key part­ners, we now look for­ward to re­ceiv­ing the in­de­pen­dent RoSPA re­view, which will in­form our fu­ture work to en­sure that as much as pos­si­ble is done to en­hance the safety of the city cen­tre’s water­ways.”

Char­lie was en­joy­ing his first year of a so­cial sciences de­gree and plan­ning for his fu­ture when tragedy struck in March.

The am­bi­tious teenager hoped to be­come a lawyer and had dreams of liv­ing in Amer­ica.

An in­quest into his death is due to take place next month.

Dad Nick Pope at the scene of son Char­lie’s (in­set) death. Be­low: Cam­paign­ers call­ing for bar­ri­ers

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