Lifesaving Hartpury College student using ambassador role to raise awareness of water safety


A Hartpury College student has been elected as a Royal Life Saving Society (RLSS) youth ambassador after saving a woman from drowning during a disabled swimming session last year. She hopes to make a difference to people’s views on safety in the water and wants to ensure those near water have knowledge of basic first aid.

17-year-old Elsie Sharkey, who is studying Level 3 Foundation Diploma Sport and Outdoor Activities at Hartpury College, is a lifeguard at GL1 in Gloucester. Last May, her quick thinking saved the life of a woman in a pool at a leisure centre in Elsie’s hometown of Weston-Super-Mare.

She had only just started her shift when she noticed a swimmer face down in the water. Elsie’s quick thinking helped the woman receive help from Elsie and her fellow lifeguards, getting her to safety quickly and administering first aid.

With recent flooding across Gloucestershire, there has been an increase in people going into the water raising the prospects of drowning. Elsie wants people to be aware of the dangers and is campaigning in her role in the RLSS to spread awareness of what can happen in water at any time.

Elsie said: “I want people to be safe in the water and to look after each other. With the flooding in Gloucestershire, I see people going into the water and I think it is just getting silly.

“However, if people are going to go into the water or see others doing so, they should have a basic idea of first aid.

“We need to make sure there are the orange lifesaving rings by rivers, but they are often vandalised so need maintaining. I have written to the council to make sure these are in place, especially as we are near the River Severn and River Wye.”

Charlie McAusland, Elsie’s tutor at Hartpury College said” “Elsie is a fantastic student academically and during activity practical days. This is a great achievement that falls in line with her outstanding course efforts.”

The Level 3 Foundation Diploma Sport and Outdoor Activities is ideal for anyone pursuing a career in the outdoor and adventure industry. A variety of practical days provide an opportunity for students to work towards National Governing Body awards in either sailing or canoeing, and activities such as climbing and hillwalking also allow students to work towards vocational qualifications. On completion of the course, students could be eligible to progress onto the Level 3 Extended Diploma in Outdoor Adventure, followed by employment or university-level study.