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Last Updated: Wednesday, 10 May 2006, 12:34 GMT 13:34 UK
Tragedy leads to pond safety call
Matthew Marsden
Matthew Marsden disappeared for a 'split second'
The parents of a Flintshire toddler who drowned at a holiday park hope his death will prompt the government to introduce tighter controls on ponds.

Matthew Marsden, from Buckley in Flintshire, drowned in 18 inches of water at a Gwynedd caravan park.

His parents Phillip and Tracey Marsden said they did not want anyone else to suffer as they have.

Alyn and Deeside MP Mark Tami is to tell MPs that existing laws governing holiday camps are inadequate.

An inquest last May recorded an accidental death verdict on the toddler who was on the first day of a family holiday at the Greenacres Holiday Park at Black Rock Sands near Porthmadog in August 2004.

I wouldn't want anyone to have to go through what my family have been through
Phillip Marsden

Matthew had disappeared from his mother's sight for a "split second" as she went to return something to a neighbouring caravan, the inquest in Caernarfon heard.

After a frantic search the little boy was found face down in the pond.

Mr Marsden, passers-by, holiday park staff and an off-duty firefighter helped in trying to revive him, but Matthew died after he was flown to hospital.

Since the tragedy the Marsdens have been campaigning for stricter safety laws governing pools and ponds in public places.

"I wouldn't want anyone to have to go through what my family have been through," Mr Marsden said.

"If we could bring about a change in the law and prevent another tragedy like this, it would help other people and give us more closure".

Phillip and Tracey Marsden
The Marsdens said they do not want others to endure what they have

An online petition set up on a website in Matthew's memory has been signed by more than 2,500, he said.

"We want to see the Health and Safety Executive given more powers in relation to fencing and safety measures around ponds in public places. It's long overdue," he said.

At the inquest the coroner described Matthew's death as a "tragic accident" and did not back calls from campaigners for ponds to be filled in.

But the couple's MP Mark Tami says lessons must be learnt and action taken.

Investigations into Matthews death found that leisure park laws protect holiday camp staff more than visitors.

'Just another headline'

Mr Tami will tell an adjournment day debate in the Commons on Wednesday that the relevant authorities - such as Health and Safety Executive and the National Water Safety Authority - need to work more closely to prevent similar accidents.

He said 111 under-fives had drowned in the last decade "within the space of a few minutes of the supervising adult being momentarily distracted".

"And it has been known for toddlers to drown in as little as one inch of water," he said.

"The Marsdens know they cannot turn back the clock, but they want their tragic loss to not be just another headline."

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03 Nov 04 |  North East Wales
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23 Aug 04 |  Wales

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