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Drowning Prevention Week

Author donates life-saving books to schools for Drowning Prevention Week

Children’s author Ellie Jackson is donating her new book to schools across the UK, telling the story of how ‘Float to Live’ advice can save your life in the sea

Children’s author Ellie Jackson is donating her new book to all schools and nurseries across the UK, telling the story of how the ‘Float to Live’ advice can save your life in the sea.

Tragically, Ellie Jackson’s brother Dom drowned while kayaking off the Moray Coast in 2017. She has since been campaigning to raise awareness of the dangers of going out without a personal locater beacon (PLB) and now wants to help teach children about the importance of water safety.

Her latest book, Sami’s Beach Rescue, aims to enforce the RNLI lesson of ‘Float to Live’ – which teaches children to float on their back like a starfish if they ever get into trouble whilst swimming or playing on the water.

The book is being launched this week for the RLSS’ Drowning Prevention Week (19 to 24 June), and is aimed at primary school age children.

Float to Live

Inspired by a news story of a boy swept out to sea – Ellie said the book almost “wrote itself”. She said: “The boy had remembered the simple message of Float to Live after he was washed out to sea. He didn’t panic, and thankfully he was recovered by the RNLI lifeboat and he was fine.

“I’m donating this new eBook and teaching resources to all schools in the UK in the hope that it will help teach this important lesson and prevent any more drownings.”

Beckie Ramsay’s son Dylan tragically drowned in 2011 after entering an open water quarry near their home in Chorley. 

She has since campaigned tirelessly, starting her own charity Doing It For Dylan – her main aim being that no one else should experience the heartache he own family has endured. 

“I want to make sure other mums don’t have to go through this,” said Beckie.

“It’s so important for everyone to learn water safety – and hopefully reduce the water fatalities going forward – that’s why this book is needed.

Ellie’s book is endorsed by Above Water, a charity that aims to stop accidental drowning in the UK through education. 

The charity’s founder, Brendon Prince, says the book is helping spread an important message: “This is a subject which is invisible to most on our island nation; it is so important to reach out with as many mediums as possible – especially to children. 

“This book is yet another way to reinforce those key issues and basics of water safety.”

Following her brother’s death, Ellie feels a bond to northeast Scotland and has been aided by Aberdeenshire Council to launch the book across the region.

Power of storytelling

Ellie realised her dream of becoming a children’s author using money her brother left in his will.

Under the banner Wild Tribe Heroes, she has published seven children’s books that focus on true stories about climate change, plastic pollution and habitat loss. The books have received letters of congratulations from Sir David Attenborough and King Charles III, reaching almost 2 million children around the world, and helping them understand the importance of looking after our environment and how they can get involved.

Ellie comments “I have seen first hand the power of a children’s book and how a simple story can bring the issue home to children. By telling a story using gentle words, happy endings and engaging illustrations, children identify with the the message in a way that is familiar and comforting. Storytelling has been used for thousands of years to share important messages and I hope that my new book will help children to remember how to stay safe on the water and save lives.”

Download your free copy of the book and teaching resources here:

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Abi writes swimming news stories and features for the Outdoor Swimmer website and manages the social media channels. She loves to swim, run, hike and SUP close to her home in Herefordshire. While she’s a keen wild swimmer, Abi is new to the world of open water events and recently completed her first open water mile. She has previously written for The Guardian, BBC Countryfile Magazine, BBC History Magazine and Ernest Journal.