River And Sea Sense Testimonials

This page is dedicated to the testimonials and fantastic support River and Sea Sense has received over the years.

Thank you all so much for your support.

Gareth Bickerton

I have known Debbie for nearly ten years in my capacity as Director for Wales for UnLtd, the Foundation for Social Entrepreneurs and have continued my association in my new role. It is with great sadness that she needed to take on her campaigns to make the World a safer and better place to work but she has overcome huge barriers to achieve so much. Debbie is an inspiration to thousands with her passion, drive, focus and determination especially in raising awareness around water safety. She is a true social entrepreneur and has a strong business background in attempting to make everything she does sustainable and long term. Debbie undertakes her difficult work however with wonderful charisma and humour and she is a totally honest and trustworthy soul. I have no hesitation in supporting Debbie in whatever she proposes to do and in whatever capacity.

Asiant C.I.C is a limited company by guarantee incorporate on 4 October 2015, company number 9808796. Asiant C.I.C will create confident communities by informing, connecting and supporting individuals and organisations wishing to bring about meaningful social and economic change.

Rebecca Wear Robinson CEO – Lioness Protects, LLC, RWR Consultants, Inc., Jabari, Inc.   

Letter of Reference for Debbie Anne Turnbull To Whom It May Concern:

I can recommend the work of Debbie Anne Turnbull in the areas of water safety and drowning awareness unreservedly.  I have followed the work of Debbie Anne Turnbull for several years and have corresponded with her a number of times regarding methods of increasing awareness of the issues, collaboration, and effective methods of communication. 

Debbie has been instrumental in creating positive and effective programs that have benefited large numbers of children and adults in the UK.  She understood early on that better data was critical for developing effective program and putting the issue of drowning more firmly on the map as a serious cause of injury and death in the UK, resulting in the development of the Water Safety Map and Debbie’s ongoing collaboration with other major organizations in the UK to improve the quality and sharing of data. Debbie Anne Turnbull brings a range of skills in sales, marketing, and public relations to the issue of drowning prevention – skills that are critical in engaging the public and that are not usually present in the field of water safety.  She is a valued asset to the field, to her local community, and to the UK as a whole.   

Dawn Whittaker CFOA lead for water safety in the UK.

To whom it may concern I have got to know Debbie Turnbull through her campaign work on Drowning Prevention and Water Safety. Her work on all elements of “River and Sea Sense” (RASS) focus on water safety campaigns and on education for young people. Debbie has shown unwavering commitement to helping to prevent others going through the tradgety of loosing a child to drowning. Based in North Wales, she has a Uk wide reach and has become a spokesperson for Drowning Prevention, regularly speaking on the subject to national press and at events and conferences. Her work has expanded to focus on a wider range of disciplines which will support families through coaching others, using holistic healing, bereavement support and teaching CPR at her centre …the healing lounge …she has already helped many people and influenced others to think about safety and wellbeing. Debbie’s commitement to helping others has now also become her business and she has worked hard to use grants wisely to develop commercial solutions for sustainability of her work. As a professional emergency services officer and national lead for drowning prevention, I commend her and her work to prospective partners, funders and clients. 

Cemex Pilot Report

From River And Sea Sense Debbie Anne Turnbull

Chris Cousens, RNLI Press Officer, Wales and West. RNLI

Debbie’s passion and enthusiasm for spreading the message of water safety and awareness was a huge asset to the Swim Safe scheme run by the RNLI, Swim Wales and the ASA at Plas Menai in north Wales in July. Debbie kindly agreed to speak to media present on the day and used her personal experiences and practical knowledge to maximise the reach of the event’s crucial safety messages. More than 300 children took part in the Swim Safe sessions, but due to Debbie’s media involvement the event’s ultimate reach was far wider than we’d have hoped. Debbie also gave a moving talk with stakeholders from the RNLI and a range of other organisations about her background and her plans to reach thousands more children with her work with River and Sea Sense.

Lucy Douglas

I found it [Debbie’s talk] very moving. I don’t know how she has the courage to stand up and deliver the talk so often, but maybe that helps the grieving process. She has a very engaging way of addressing the pupils and speaks directly from the heart. Her story is so sad, and yet so informative especially about the ICE number in mobile phones, which I remember from her talks over the past few years. This time her speech really touched me now that I am a mother – I just wouldn’t know how I would go on if anything like her tragedy happened to my darling little girl. She is an inspiration!

Robin John Doody

Hi Debbie I would like to thank you very much for the work that you have done in raising awareness of water safety.  We’re really pleased with the progress so far and look forward to further work next year in 2017.  We would be happy to recommend you and your work to others who have a similar interest.  The campaign to improve our young peoples awareness of the dangers of water must continue until we have zero incidents in the UK. Regards Rob

Raye Phillips

I have heard Debbie’s story a number of times over the past few years and every time she tells of the tragic event that took place in August 2006, I get a lump in my throat. Debbie’s message to students is powerful. As soon as Debbie starts telling them her story, they sit up and listen. Her words make them think about their own actions and the consequences of the decisions they make. Debbie is passionate about her campaign and being able to get this message to as many children as possible, in order to save lives. This is what gives her the strength to continue.

Stuart Howsen

I would recommend Debbie to visit your school to talk to pupils about the dangers of water. Her very touching and emotional personal story sends a really powerful message to all who she speaks to. The work she does is invaluable as tragic accidents involving water are still happening too often.

School Testimonials

Stephanie Roberts

Debbie I found your talk very moving last week. The students talked about many of the presentations they had seen but yours was one of the ones that hit home. With living by the sea and a river we often take our safety for granted. We know the dangers and too many ignore them or get caught up in events beyond their control as your son did.

Students are often chastised in school for using their mobile phones but I think your campaign will help them to realise that they are  a useful tool to let parents know they are safe and to get help in an emergency. I told your story to my own sons who are 14 and 17 and go out with their friends at weekends. My eldest has always been very good at responding to calls and texts from me but my youngest forgets to charge his up. He has been much improved this last week now he knows I’m not being nosy I just want him to be able to contact me or others in an emergency.


Ysgol John Bright Sensory Support, Specialist Teaching Assistant

Sue Williams

Thank you so much. My daughter is a Year 7 pupil and she was very much struck by what you had to say and by your courage. Also, the children’s comments on here have shown just how much they have matured – hard to believe they were all at junior school this time last year. I cannot begin to imagine your loss but Chris must be very proud of you.

Rhiannon Roberts

Thanks for coming in to school today! It was really good listening about ur story! ? xx

Caitlin Richardson

Thanks for coming to our school . i really appreciate it now i know how dangerous water can be . Im am very sorry to hear about your son but i think he will be very proud of you for what your doing xx

Hannah Hughes

Thankyou for coming into our school yesterday. You are really inspiring, and Im so sorry about Chris. Like everybody eles has said, you have tought us the dangers. All the best xxx

Chloe Grogan

debbie thanks for coming in to school today I remember when you came in to pen-y-bryn as I was young then I didn’t real understand all the heart ache u have had today was very touching and practicly all lunch me and my friend were crying as we felt so sad during that lesson I was crying my eyes out and I couldn’t possibly know how you felt to know u will never see your son again but I belive that if u die u cm bk xty

Chloe Shilton

thank you so much for today it has made me realise how risky water is ,you are so brave to talk to us about this. your son was a friend of my cousin and she thought you were so brave to cope with that . THANK YOU

Rachel Sian Jones

Thank you for giving me the opportunity – it was an amazing experience and I admire you for all you do for others – I look forward to helping out in the future and working with you. I hope your interview went well this morning also, Rachel xx

Harrio Thomas

ive sent 38 ices,i remember listening to your story about chris once at betws-y-coed primary school. i hope now after listening to chris’s story people will be more aware of the power of water.

River & Sea Sense

Emily Isaacs

Thank you for coming to our school x I am very sorry to hear about your son and I think what you are doing is amazing ! Your son would be so proud of you and other fundraisers. You made lots of people realise how dangerous water can be x I have sent out text to twenty people to put the contact I.C.E as there mum and dad. I will also put it as my status x Your amazing ! Well done and keep up the good work x

Gabrielle Peace

thankyou sooo much for coming, sorry to hear about your son. now i no how dangers deep water can be, thanks again!! xxxx

Noah Owen Gant

thanks for coming in to day and talking about the hoffic accdident ! i think your very brave for coming in today and sharing that ? it must of been really hard to tell that story. chris will all ways be in your heart. Thanks

Ella Wells-Percival

thx for the speeh today as soon as we got out of class me and my friends were still trying not to cry xxxx so sorry to her about chris he will be really proud of you !!!!!!

Oonagh Cerys Davies

U were amazing today! It touched all my friends and definately me . I know about water and the dangers . Doing my ICE’s in a moment and I will forward the text message to my friends xx I wish I have your strength and courage when I’m older ? best wishes for the future xxx ♥

Hannah Jones

Hello Debbie you came to our school a couple of months ago and i just wanted to say I have sent 84 ICE messages thank you for your inspiring talk! x p.s. i’m 12 you dont have to accept my request i just needed to find a way of telling you how many messages i have sent. x.

Izzy Orpin

thanx for coming to talk to us the other the day, i learnt a lot. you are doing really well so keep going! ? xxx

Sasha Rose Meredith

Thank youu for coming inn…Me and som others i now havr out as our status to like it andd Thank youu,you have showed us how dangerous it iss xx :O!!

Lauren Whitehead

Thank you for coming to Ysgol John Bright today it made me realise how dangerous water can be!! i think you are a very inspirering woman and deserve all the fundraising money you can get i have done my I.C.E’s i sent it to 32 contacts so hopefully they sent it on too!! it was very upsetting about your son but i know its best to think about how greatfull he would be to know what we are all doing here today to help im sure he is watching you and feeling proud he will never be forgotten all though i never knew him i now feel like i do thanks to you i will always think of him before i ever consider doing things that may be dangerous in water thank you very much!! x

Lara Swain

thanks for coming in to speak to us yesterday, me and my friend Hana were almost crying. I’m so sorry about Chris, he sounds like he was a very lovely person. Good luck with RASS in the future, I did my I.C.E’s and I am so glad that I am aware of all the dangers now. Thanks so much you had a lot of courage xxx

Melanie Whiting

my daughter told me about your visit to Eirias today. So sorry to hear about your son, as a parent I truly cannot imagine anything worse. Thank you so much for sharing your experience, you’re very brave x

Charlotte Whitehead

 Iv’e sent many ICE as i can hope it help xx Thank You for coming in our school Ysgol Dyffryn Conwy x We are all grateful xx Thank You x ? xx

Ella-louise Dodd

i was so very touched by your story at ysgol J.B last fri. Being a mum myself i had a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye. i think what u are doing is amazing, chris will be very very proud of u. all the very best to u xx

Ellen Richards

thank you for coming to our school i really have seen how dangerous water can be x imsoo sorry for wat happend to youre son and i will do an I.C.E to most of my contacts and i hope u do well with all youre fundraising xx thank you very much xx

Carys Williams

Thank you so much for coming to talk to us – it must be so hard for you and i really appriciate it xxx I never knew how dangerous lakes and rivers could be so thank you again xxx RIP chris xx

Rebecca Frost

Debbie, I think what you did today was beautiful! It must have been really hard for you to talk about Chris, but you did it wonderfully:) Im sure Chris would be very proud of you. What you said to me touched my heart and i have done everything you asked us to, for you and for Chris! I hope it all works out for you with River and Sea Sense:)xxxx

Beckie Bold

Doing my Ice`s later♥, Touched by your story today you defentily had courage to come and speak to us about that.. Now weve all have sence knocked in us thanks to you (: Thankyou! And R.I.P Chris♥  


Ms Debbie Tumbull Dear Debbie Thank you meeting with me at Llandudno on 28 June. It was extremely interesting and heartwarming to listen to you talking about River and Sea Sense and it is clear that your personal commitment and drive will endear you to many an audience and ensure that your message is both heard and understood. I think this is a really positive initiative and, together with the support of the agencies that you already have on board, will I’m sure, prove to be a really successful method of not only raising awareness amongst children and young adults as to the real dangers of playing in and around water but also increase safety and potentially save lives. I know the catalyst for the initiative has been your tragic loss but, as you say, Coos’s memory will live on through your work and that of the scheme. The Conwy and Denbighshire Community Safety Partnerships, of which North Wales Police is a member,work with many agencies to ensure that the health, wellbeing and safety of children and young people is treated as the highest priority. We discussed ways in which we may be able to assist your endeavours and I can assure you of our support for the scheme. Obviously engaging with children and young people requires you, and any supporters involved, to have all the appropriate CRB checks, guidance and training and as such, I have asked that a colleague discuss this aspect with you. I wish you every success with this initiative and the otliciallaunch at the Emergency Services Day Llandudno on 29 July.

Yours sincerely

Terry Kellaher


R Geraint James – Statutory Head of Education Services

Reference for Debbie Turnbull  –  River And Sea Sense Over the past 5 years Debbie has been committed to delivering presentations in our primary and secondary schools across Conwy County about the dangers of water following the tragic drowning of her son at Capel Curig.  River and Sea Sense has developed into an established resource that is known throughout the county and recognised by teachers and parents alike as the essential Water Safety educational company. When Debbie has delivered lessons for children in our primary schools the feedback has always been positive.  She seems to capture children’s hearts and bring out the best in them.   In secondary schools her talks in assemblies of up to 1400 pupils have been empowering and passionate – so much so that pupils have taken the time to approach Heads of Year to help and support RASS.  Feedback from teachers is very positive, encouraging and always in admiration of the work of River And Sea Sense. At a recent meeting with Debbie I was impressed with her drive to take a huge leap forward with RASS in its development as a national organisation. Given Debbie’s commitment I have no doubt that this will be the case.  Debbie’s newest project, Safety Map, has been recognised by the local Police and Emergency Services and I’m sure that this new initiative will be a very useful tool in the development of future projects Debbie has in mind. I have no doubt that Debbie has contributed to a greater awareness by young people of the inherent dangers of rivers and sea environments and as a consequence may have saved many lives in this time, and will do so for many years to come. I recommend River And Sea Sense to any school or Youth Group and would welcome any request for reference of this very worthwhile organisation.

Caroline Biltcliffe B.Ed.

Debbie and I have known each other for some time. Our sons were, for a time, in the same form at Eirias High School and they were good friends.We were on holiday in Mid Wales when we heard the terrible news of Chris’s tragic death and, although at the time I didn’t know Debbie or John I remember being horribly shocked and feeling such sorrow for them as parents. I know what an effect it had on my son, Olly, I have, over the past 12 months, got to know Debbie well and to really respect the work she is doing in raising awareness of the dangers of playing near or on water both at sea and in rivers. She has worked tirelessly for various charities associated with water safety and the Ogwen Mountain Valley rescue, pretty much since Chris died. Recently she came into the school where I teach( Llandrillo Primary School, Rhos on Sea) to speak to 60 year 6 pupils (age 10/11) She made an incredible impact on them and the room was silent for the whole time she was speaking to them . When she left they were buzzing with ideas and questions. They were enthused and also warned. I can only say that I have seen at first hand Debbie’s organisational skills and her ability to communicate with young people. I feel that she has a real talent and passion for raising awareness of the dangers of rivers and water and I hope that through the relevant funding and support she will be able to carry on this good work. Caroline Biltcliffe B.Ed. (Mrs)

Nina Sidar

Debbie Turnbull F2N Awards Re. F2N Awards Debbie Turnbull Dear Nina, In relation to this year’s Awards I am delighted to be able to make the following submission in support of Debbie Turnbull receiving the ‘F2N – Resilience in Business Award’. Debbie has worked tirelessly for Water Safety issues for years now. Literally she is in a class of her own with her activities! Never allowing adversity to stop her progress, she continues to bring the vital messages to thousands of young people each year in schools and increasingly through using the modern internet technologies. As you will be aware the current state education in this area is woefully inadequate Debbie continues to display resilience in her activities, we live in rapidly changing times – funding is difficult of course. Young people need to have the message; that it is great to enjoy the outdoors, but is should be done with the right knowledge and balance. I feel that Debbie is a fantastic role model to other business people, that you can pick yourself up after difficult times and indeed turn a negative event into a situation where thousands of others can benefit and who knows how many lives can be saved. So I am delighted to be able to nominate Debbie for this leading business award. Yours sincerely Paul Levy Director