top of page

Members of the Robbie Lea Water Safety Partnership delivering their safety talk at The John Warner School

4,500 Hertfordshire school children attending water safety workshops this year in memory of Robbie Lea

Release date: 

23 May 2023

This month marks six years since Robbie Jordan Lea, a young man from Cheshunt with a bright future, tragically drowned after getting into difficulty swimming in a lake in River Lee Country Park.

Robbie’s legacy has seen thousands of local school children receive lifesaving water safety presentations delivered by the Robbie Lea Water Safety Partnership. This year the partnership, which was created in memory of Robbie, will have delivered a record number of workshops to over 4,500 Hertfordshire school children.

So far members of the partnership including Lee Valley Regional Park’s Learning and Engagement Service, Hertfordshire Constabulary and Hertfordshire Fire & Rescue have delivered hard hitting water safety information via interactive workshops at six secondary schools in Broxbourne, with a seventh school to follow later this term. Students have explored the dangers of swimming in unsupervised open water which could lead to difficulties for even the most experienced swimmers, including old submerged machinery and cables which could easily snag a swimmer, unexpected currents, extremely cold areas of water resulting in cold water shock and shallow waters.

The students have learnt vital lifesaving skills from watching a Royal Life Saving Society presentation and receiving RNLI’s Float to Survive advice and information on how to use the What3Words App.

Feedback from teachers has been overwhelmingly positive, including:

“The level of detail and consideration for the whole topic of water safety was excellent. This is an incredibly important message.” (Staff member, Goffs Churchgate Academy)

“This was a fantastic and informative presentation that was hard hitting, but essential knowledge to have as young people.” (Mr White, Robert Barclay Academy)

The thriving Robbie Lea Water Safety Partnership has grown in recent years, extending its reach into East Hertfordshire and working closely with partners in Essex. This has seen further water safety workshops delivered in three secondary schools in East Hertfordshire as part of Hertfordshire Constabulary’s Hertfordshire Water Safety Initiative, with more to follow this term.

Again, feedback from teachers has been extremely positive:

“Our year 9 pupils learnt about the dangers of water in an excellent assembly which could well save a life in future, thank you!” (Jane Pawulska, Deputy Head (Pastoral,) Bishops Stortford College)

“Very informative, educational and relevant. Engaging, hard hitting and to the point. The kids left with a better understanding of water safety in our rivers, locks and lakes.” (James Steventon, Year 9 Learning Coordinator, Chauncy School)

The partnership has also extended into local primary schools, with 11 schools receiving water safety presentations from the Canal and River Trust.

In addition to delivering water safety presentations the partnership also actively supports national campaigns, such as the recent National Fire Chiefs Council’s #BeWaterAware drowning prevention and water safety week, in which partners used social media to amplify key water safety messages. The partnership also delivered a social media campaign in support of World Drowning Prevention Day 2022,sharing an interview with Robbie’s mother, Sarah.

Partners will also be engaging with the public at the forthcoming ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships at Lee Valley White Water Centre this September, with live rescue demonstrations on the lake and water safety information for school children and families.

Commenting on the successful partnership Karen Wheeler, Learning and Engagement Manger at Lee Valley Regional Park Authority and chair said, “We are delighted to have reached so many school children this year with information that could save a life. To have visited every secondary school in Broxbourne by the end of this academic year is a fantastic achievement and we are grateful to all the members of the Robbie Lea Water Safety Partnership for their assistance in delivering these sessions and helping us to extend our programme of school engagement into new areas.”

“With longer days and warmer weather to come and an increase in the number of people in the UK losing their lives in accidents in the water, the work that the partnership is carrying out is absolutely vital to keeping people safe.

Members of the Robbie Lea Water Safety Partnership include, the family of Robbie Lea, Lee Valley Regional Park Authority, Hertfordshire Fire & Rescue, Hertfordshire Constabulary, RNLI, Canal and River Trust, Parks Patrol - Broxbourne Council, Royal Life Saving Society, Hertfordshire Boat Rescue, Broxbourne Boat Centre, Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL), Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust, Essex Country Parks and Essex Fire & Rescue.

To help keep visitors to Lee Valley Regional Park safe this summer Rangers will once again be delivering a programme of dedicated water safety drop in sessions this summer in various swimming hot spots across the park as well as increased patrols in hot weather to warn visitors about the dangers of swimming in open water.

Further advice and guidance on staying safe in and around water can be found here at

#RememberRobbie #WaterSafety #RespectTheWater #EndDrowning #RLWSP


For more information, or hi-res images contact

bottom of page