A PRUDHOE councillor is backing calls for a debate in the House of Commons on water safety.

It comes after the death of Robert Hattersley, of Crawcrook, who drowned in the River Tyne.

The 13-year-old had been swimming with friends at Ovingham when his body was found in the water.

Liz Twist, MP for Blaydon, paid tribute to Robert ahead of the launch of his family's campaign on water safety awareness.

She said: "13-year-old Robert Hattersley drowned in the River Tyne at Ovingham while playing with his friends in July last year.

"Robert was a popular and much loved young man.

"His parents Carl and Stella, who live in my constituency, will hold a meeting next week to set up a foundation to raise awareness of water safety amongst young people to prevent tragedies like Robert's.

"Will the leader of the house join me in sending them good wishes in their campaign and as we approach the summer, can we have a debate in government time on the importance of water safety?"

Prudhoe North councillor Angie Scott reinforced the MP's request, saying: “As we approach summer, we know water, such as our section of the River Tyne, is irresistible for young people but there are hidden dangers.

“I simply can't imagine the sorrow of losing a child in this sort of accident. I want to pay tribute to Mr and Mrs Hattersley who set up a campaign on water safety after the tragic loss of their son Robert in July last year.

“I would also like to thank the council officers who I have been working with on this important issue. They have put up warning signs and provided a lifebuoy for the area. I would also like to thank emergency teams who regularly hold training sessions at the riverside.

“Families who have lost a precious child in this way campaign because they don't want any other family to have to deal with this type of devastating tragedy. We must do everything we can to keep our children safe near water, especially as we approach the warm summer months.”