A Renfrewshire councillor has secured funding for LED lighting that will be fitted around the Tweedie Hall – the lighting similar to other fixtures in area such as Renfrew Town Hall and the Johnstone Town Centre Band Stand.

Linwood will now be able to mark events around the year such as Christmas, Remembrance Day and Pride with a colourful lighting display in a similar fashion to other towns across Renfrewshire.

Councillor Robert Innes, the Houston, Crosslee and Linwood representative has highlighted the campaign of the family of William McNally who tragically lost his life in an accident on the river Gryffe and has stated that it is their campaign to highlight water safety that inspired the councillor to pursue a colourful lighting fixture in Linwood.

William’s family have worked tirelessly to increase safety along the river Gryffe working with Renfrewshire Council to place GPS signs and life belts at potentially dangerous areas along the river as part of an overall drive to improve the safety of all waterways in the Renfrewshire area.

The new equipment was one of the first actions of the Renfrewshire water safety working group bringing together the council, the area’s civil contingencies service, OneRen, Renfrewshire Health and Social Care Partnership, Police Scotland, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, Scottish Ambulance Service and Open Water Rescue.

Last year to mark the anniversary of William’s passing, the family worked with Renfrewshire Council to raise awareness of water safety and World Drowning Prevention Day. Landmarks were lit up blue around Renfrewshire to mark the occasion however Linwood, the home of William McNally, had no such infrastructure to raise awareness on the day. This new lighting means that in the future Linwood will now be able to take part.

Councillor Innes said: “I was inspired to light up Linwood by the campaign of the family of William McNally, the young boy who tragically lost his life in an accident in the river Gryffe. This family has been through the unimaginable and have done a hugely important job in highlighting the dangers in our water and have been instrumental in getting safety equipment installed along the river.

“Last year, Renfrewshire Council lit up landmarks such as Renfrew Town Hall, the Bascule Bridge and the Johnstone Band Stand in memory of William and to raise awareness of World Drowning Prevention Day but it occurred to me that nothing was lit up in Linwood and I thought that was a shame considering it is the family’s home town.”

Councillor Innes added: “I raised this situation with council officers and I am happy that we will now be getting similar lights in Linwood around the Tweedie Hall. It means we will be able to raise awareness on World Drowning Prevention Day but it also means Linwood will be better equipped to celebrate events such as Christmas or Pride for example. We will be able to show solidarity with global events, mark days of Remembrance and raise awareness for many causes just like the other towns in Renfrewshire do.

“This would not have been possible without the hard work of William McNally’s family in raising awareness of the tragic circumstances that they have gone through and urging our young people to be careful down by the river. I thank them for doing this and I wish them all the best going forward in highlighting water safety and drowning prevention in Renfrewshire and I am happy to support them in any way that I can.”

William McNally’s mother Sharron Drennan said: “I am glad that Linwood will have somewhere to highlight World Drowning Prevention day and other events around the year. Councillor Innes got in touch and informed us that it was our campaign to highlight water safety that made the LED lights possible. Well done to him for pursuing this for Linwood. I have recently met with the councillor and he has assured me he will continue to raise awareness of water safety and pursue improvements on our local rivers.

“William is still missed by all of us every single day and as we approach the summer months again it is important that our young people are aware of the dangers while going into our rivers. I hope that our continued effort to raise awareness of water safety and the efforts of the Renfrewshire water safety working group make them think twice before entering the water in potentially unsafe places.”

Headline image: Cllr Innes with Sharron Drennan in the Tweedie Hall

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