Mark’s Law: petition for compulsory safety equipment around UK inland waters passes 100,000 signatures

  •  Lack of water safety equipment led to drowning of Mark Allen
  • Mark's mother Leeanne Bartley creates petition calling for compulsory rescue equipment near open water
  • Petition passes 100,000 signatures and will be considered for debate in Parliament 

A mother who set up a petition in memory of her drowned son to get the law changed is celebrating after Parliament agreed to discuss the matter.

A petition under the title of Mark Allen’s Law and set up by his mother Leeanne Bartley went viral and passed the 100,000 signature mark. 

Mark, an acting student at the Manchester College, was just 18 when he died in June 2018 after jumping into a freezing reservoir on a hot day.

Figures from the Water Incident Database and the National Water Safety Forum show that deaths by accidental drowning are increasing on a year-by-year basis. 

Despite numerous efforts to save Mark, he never emerged from the water. Mark’s family believe he could have been saved if safety equipment was available near the water. 

Acting student Mark Allen

Almost a year later, in May 2019, they watched as three throwlines were placed near the water where Mark died.

Leeanne believes it should not take a tragedy like Mark’s drowning for life-saving equipment to be placed near open water. 

She believes there is a “lack of rescue equipment” around open water and wants to prevent other families losing their loved ones in the same way. 

Leeanne described the overwhelming response to the petition as “something we never dared to dream of” and hopes Mark Allen’s law will keep his memory alive in a positive way.

She told the Northern Quota that many other people who have lost family in the same way reached out to her after she set up her Facebook page

Mark’s mum, Leeanne Bartley, and stepdad David Bartley

After the petition went online, rescue organisations such as Reach and Rescue have contacted Mark’s family and pledged to make water rescue safer by administering extra-long telescopic poles. 

Addressing the petition, the Government responded: “This tragic loss of life highlights the importance of landowner’s responsibility to assess and act on the risks posed by open bodies of water on their land. The proposed Mark Allen’s Law now must be considered for debate in Parliament.”