A schoolboy’s family in an emotional plea to reduce the number of water-related tragedies

William McNally, 13, suffered brain damage in the River Gryffe near Linwood in Renfrewshire last June at a place where youngsters traditionally gathered to cool off in hot weather.

His grieving relatives have urged people to be wary of wild swimming spots so their families don’t have to go through the same ordeal.

And they revealed the grief still felt over the loss of the schoolboy to mark Monday’s World Drowning Prevention Day – which is supported by emergency services, councils and a number of charities across foreground of the country.

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William’s mother, Sharron Drennan, said: “I want to thank everyone who tried to help William that day.

“William was, and still is, much loved and adored. Everyone misses him, which was made very clear last year when Linwood stopped by for his funeral.

“I want to appeal to all young people: please make sure your mother doesn’t have to go through what I have. Please look out for each other and make sure you that all your friends get home safely.

William’s aunts Jayne and Claire Drennan appeared in a video marking the first anniversary of his death – an event they called “catastrophic”.

Tragedy: William McNally, 13, died after running into difficulty in the River Gryffe in Renfrewshire last June

Jayne Drennan said: “The impact of losing William has been catastrophic for the whole family. There is a hole that has been blown through us that can never, ever be repaired.

“It’s just about trying to get through the day really, and it’s been that way for a year.

“My sister lost her son. My niece and nephew lost their brother. My parents lost their grandson and we lost a nephew.

Renfrewshire Council has stepped up its efforts to improve water safety in the area. New lifebuoys with GPS trackers have been placed at potentially dangerous points, which the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service are able to trace.

Safety advocacy: Jayne and Claire Drennan

A ‘no swimming’ sign was also erected in the area where William drowned.

Sean Kersse, from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Swimming in open water, such as rivers, is very dangerous and we urge all young people to know the risks as well as how to stay safe. “