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