THE grandfather of his ‘little angel’ Presley Stockton, four, who died in a hotel swimming pool while on holiday in Tenerife in September is calling for swimming lessons to be free and a priority for preschoolers.
Presley was on holiday with his parents, his stepsister and other relatives when he was pulled from the pool at a four-star hotel in Los Cristianos in Spain’s Canary Islands.
Mike Jolley’s call for free lessons comes as the government has announced extra funding to make sure all children can swim confidently by the time they finish primary school.
The £320 million PE and Sport Premium will fund extra lessons for children who have not yet met the national curriculum expectation after core swimming lessons, and extra training for teachers on water safety and swimming techniques through courses provided by Swim England.
But Mike Jolley said: “It’s too late leaving it until later in primary school. Lessons used to be mandatory from a young age.
“It’ll help them with their physical education and obviously if they get into a situation like Presley did they’d be able to swim and it wouldn’t be a problem.”
He said: “A lot of people, especially these days, haven’t got the money or the wherewithal – perhaps they’re on benefits, or having to work massive hours just to be able to put food on the table and haven’t got time – so it should be on the education system from a young age like it used to be.
“Swimming lessons should be free and local councils should champion it as a community scheme instead of wasting money on stupid statues.”
Mike, 49, speaking about Presley’s tragic death said: “He’d been to the swimming baths but couldn’t swim properly without his armbands. We still don’t know whether he slipped into the water or jumped in thinking he had his armbands on.
“Just a few minutes before he’d been speaking to my wife on FaceTime and showing her around the place. His dad had literally just sat back as Presley was busy chatting and the next thing he knew he’d disappeared and all hell broke loose.”