Mum of Blue Lagoon victim backs quarry safety drive

SP73897 Bereaved couple Tracy Walker and Jason Clark
SP73897 Bereaved couple Tracy Walker and Jason Clark

Experts have sounded a warning after mindless trespassers broke into a Derbyshire quarry and scaled a massive chimney.

The intruders breached security at Lafarge’s quarry in Hope and climbed the 100-metre tall chimney – then took pictures for a website.

Nigel Jackson, chief executive of the Mineral Products Association (MPA), blasted the life-threatening “cheap thrill”.

He said: “It’s complete madness.”

The shock news emerged this week as the MPA launched a summer drive to highlight the tragic hazards of trespassing into quarries with hidden, life-threatening dangers including ice-cold lakes, steep cliffs, falling rocks and quicksand pools.

The campaign is backed by Tracey Walker whose 15-year-old son Ryan drowned while swimming in abandoned Far Hill Quarry, locally known as the Blue Lagoon, near Ashover, three years ago.

Mrs Walker, of Clay Cross, said: “It was a lovely, hot, sunny day – May 31, 2009 – and Ryan and some friends had decided to go to the Blue Lagoon.

“Later, I heard fire engines and helicopters but didn’t think anything of it.

“Then we got a phone call to say Ryan had gone underwater and he’d not come back up.”

Mrs Walker, who has called for more safety measures at quarries, described Ryan as a “fun-loving, popular and outgoing lad with a cheeky smile”.

Over the summer, the MPA will visit schools to highlight the campaign, which has a group, called Stay Safe... Stay Out Of Quarries, on Facebook.

To watch an video on the dangers of trespassing into quarries, visit www.youtube.com and search for Stay Safe... Stay Out Of Quarries.