Neighbouring council launches water safety video in schools

An image of Michael Scaife | Hillingdon Today
An image of Michael Scaife who died in the Jubilee River / Slough Borough Council

Neighbouring council launches water safety video in schools

The harrowing final moments of a young man who drowned in the Jubilee River are recounted by a friend in an educational video being launched in schools to prevent another life being lost.

Jade Spilsbury was among a group of friends who went to the banks of the river with 20-year-old Michael Scaife.

She dialled 999 as Michael’s head went below the surface for a final time and she didn’t see him resurface.

The moving account is just part of the educational video which also features Michael’s mum Sonia.

Sonia takes a walk across the bridge of the Jubilee River where she sat for hours above Michael’s body waiting for specialist divers to pull him out.

In the video, produced by the Safer Slough Partnership and the Environment Agency, she explains the bridge has become a memorial for her family.

Both women warn others not to go into any body of water on hot days due to the water being freezing cold and the risk of cold-water shock, which Michael suffered from rendering him unable to surface.

Jade said: “Just don’t go in. Don’t leave the people who love you behind.”

The video, which can be viewed below, will be shared with secondary schools to use in their PHE lessons. It will serve as a real-life warning of the dangers of jumping or swimming in waterways as well as leaving lifebuoys and lines situated along rivers alone for when there is an emergency.

Alan Sinclair, joint chair of the Safer Slough Partnership board, said: “This is a really sad and salient story of a young man from Langley with his whole life in front of him, who was out on a summer’s day and having fun.

“It quickly turned to tragedy when another young man got into trouble and Michael helped get him to the edge before getting into trouble himself.

“The Safer Slough Partnership has done a lot of work to try and educate and warn people not to go in the Jubilee River and we are widening this to reach all the secondary school pupils.”