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NEWS ROUNDUP: Reservoir warning


23/07/21 | Leeds local news | Yorkshire Water is urging people not to enter the water at its reservoirs after the recent warm weather saw 762 people recorded swimming or intending to swim at 14 of the water companies 130 reservoirs in a seven-day period.

The incidents were recorded between 11 and 18 July at a handful of reservoirs, despite continued warnings from Yorkshire Water and emergency services across the region about the dangers of open water.

Gaynor Craigie, head of land and property at Yorkshire Water, said: “The last week has tragically seen four people lose their lives in open water in our region, following on from a further four fatalities earlier in the year.

“Our sites have seen a dramatic increase in people swimming, particularly during the recent warm weather, with our teams speaking to almost 800 people intending to swim at just a handful of our sites, including young unaccompanied children. We know the true number of people entering reservoirs across the region will be much greater and we would urge people not to take risks by getting into the water for any reason.

“There are several risks associated with open water at reservoirs, which are often underestimated, and pose a potential risk to life. These include cold water shock, unseen objects, the hazards of operational machinery and the underwater currents they cause. We would urge people not to underestimate these dangers and to speak to their children about the risks of entering open water.”

Yorkshire Water is holding discussions with a range of organisations responsible for watercourses, as well as the emergency services and wild swimming groups, to work together to warn of the dangers of open water and keep people safe.

The water company also hosted events with schools in Yorkshire to raise awareness of the dangers of entering open water.



As the UK’s biggest woodland charity continues its decades-long recovery of a fire ravaged site it issues a summer plea: don’t light fires.

Three years on from the biggest ever fire on it sites – a devastating blaze which destroyed swathes of precious moorland left wildlife reeling in its wake - the Woodland Trust is urging people not to light fires.

The charity’s sites have already been blighted by nine fires this year and with the summer holidays beginning for many, and the potential for prolonged periods of dry spells, the risk of wild fires significantly increases. BBQs and small fires on moorland and woodland can easily get out of control and rip through the countryside fast, damaging everything in their path.

In the summer of 2018, a toxic mix of a fire, coupled with droughts, swept through the moorland at Smithills near Bolton, creating a “moonscape landscape” and wiping out whole ecosystems including displacing rare birds such as the curlew, damaging a third of the 1,700 hectare site, as well as killing around 2,000 trees.  It took 42 days for the fire service and the Woodland Trust to bring it under control and the recovery is ongoing and costs are rising above £1 million.

This year, there was a big fire on its site near Cave Hill Country Park in Northern Ireland – small by wild fire standards but nevertheless damaging a large area of the site. In Castle Hills in Northumberland and Martinshaw in Leicestershire there have been a series of fires, as there has at Merry Hill on the outskirts of London.

These kind of fires cause untold damage to habitats, wiping out wildlife and forcing nesting birds to flea.  Some of which takes decades to recover.

With these risks in mind, the Trust has launched a national “love your woods” campaign which is looking to encourage people to visit its woodland leaving no trace and therefore aid the protection of the Trust’s special sites.

Al Crosby, the Woodland Trust’s Regional Director for northern England said: “Our sites are a wonderful place to visit with so much diversity – from mountainous Ben Shieldaig in Scotland and the moorlands of Smithills, to community woods and lowland forests towards the south of England, and everything in between. We of course want people to enjoy them but also to take care of them, which is why we have launched this campaign, all about recognising what’s special about these places, and how visitors can show their love for them and help us to keep them that way.

“Our key message is to people -  help us to protect the precious woods and wildlife near you – please don’t light fires,  it poses untold risk to people and wildlife. Even if people think they are in control one minute it can soon change and the affects can be absolutely catastrophic.”

More on the campaign is here: woodlandtrust.org.uk/loveyourwoods.



A mum whose parents forced her to give her newborn baby up for adoption has miraculously found him living in Australia - a staggering 66 years later.

Issy Carr, now 86, heartbreakingly parted ways the tot, who she named George, all the way back in 1955 when she was just 20 years old.

She often thought of her long-lost son over the decades, but it wasn't until Christmas Day 2018 when someone suggested ancestry tracking that her search began.

Miraculously, her DNA sample matched with a woman in Perth, Australia, called Kym who was looking for her dad.

Further tests revealed Kym was Issy's biological granddaughter and that George had her as a youngster after moving abroad but had never met her.

The pair, with help from Issy's niece Angela Bowskill and relative Janet Staveley, launched a social media search for George with the information they had.

They managed to find an address and, in May, Kym knocked on the door and told the man who answered she was his daughter.

A few days later, Issy saw her lad for the first time in 66 years in an emotional Zoom call which included her granddaughter Kim.

The trio have spent the past couple of months chatting while getting to know each other and plan to reunite in person as soon as restrictions relax.

It has emerged that George, now Keith, was raised just ten miles from Issy and moved to Australia with his adopted family aged 15.

Reflecting on the past, Issy, from Bentham, North Yorks., said: "I loved him straight away and called him George, but Nurse Eccles, a lovely nurse, said she had been told I was not to see or hold him.

"He was rushed away and I never saw him again.

“My mother told me I would soon forget about him but I never did and tried many times to find out where he had gone but failed.

"I never forgave my parents, whatever their reason was.”

Issy, who still runs a small North Yorkshire caravan park at the age of 86, gave birth to George at a nursing home on June 13, 1955.

Following the ordeal of giving him up, she worked long hours at her parents' farm before meeting a man called John Makinson Carr, who she married in 1962.

Issy and John had no children of their own but they had a happy marriage before his death in 1991.

Following the second tragic loss of her life, Issy's thoughts once again turned to her long-lost son, as she wondered where he was and if he was well.

It wasn’t until this year after an investigation stretching across the globe by her niece and her niece's cousin that Keith was found.

Issy said: “What’s more, I found out when he was adopted that he was brought up in Kirkby Lonsdale, right under my nose."

The search began when Issy logged onto ancestry.com and submitted six saliva samples.

But by a quirk of fate, a woman called Kym, 43, from Perth was looking for her father and had also provided a DNA sample, which matched Issy's.

Issy said: “Janet came on the phone to me in January this year very excited saying we had a match.

“It turned out that my son had emigrated to Australia with his family aged 15, had met someone but split up.

"The DNA match was with his daughter, Kym, who he had never met."

Issy said Janet and Angela connected with Kym for a Zoom call and a second DNA test showed a 99.59 per cent match. Issy also learned she had two great grandsons.

Armed with information of her father’s birth name, date of birth and a possible surname, Kym shared details on social media.

There was a laborious search of library records to follow which revealed a surname of Garrahy and an address.

In May, Kym went to the door with her husband and asked the man who answered his date of birth before saying: "I'm your daughter".

Issy said: “Apparently he nearly fell through the floor. And when they chatted a bit more and she told him how she had found him."

A few days later a Zoom call was set up between Kym, Keith, who doesn't have any other children, and Issy and they have had several chats since.

Issy said: “I found out we all had a lot in common and a similar sense of humour.

"Keith is the spitting image of me and his daughter is beautiful. She even has a cat named Bonnie, as I do.”

Issy said she will never get over the trauma of being forced to give her son away and at the time was unable to challenge her parents’ decision.

She added: “It felt very cruel but there was nothing I could do.

"It did make me a strong person and I did eventually find a good man in John but there was a huge part of my life missing and it was the not knowing that was the hardest thing to bear."

Kym said she and her father were excited to learn of their extended family in England.

She added: "He said he was very happy that he has a nice family now and was very happy to have found his mum.

"I have been over the moon to find my grandmother, it was so unexpected. And the joy I feel knowing I have more family in England. I can’t wait to meet them all.

"I was so excited and nervous to meet my father but I had nothing to worry about. And helping my Grandma Issy find her son was the best feeling ever.

"My father and I can’t wait to travel to England when the Covid restrictions are over."

(SWNS | Barnaby Kellaway)

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