YOUNGSTERS in Whitchurch have been told to stay off a waterway in town if or when a big freeze arrives again this winter or face a potential grisly end.

The call was made by Barry Hale, chairman of the Queensway Playing Fields Association in Whitchurch, after he and his fellow committee members were told that children had been seen standing and playing on the water at the site.

The fields are host to a number of activities with the water in the middle but Mr Hale said he was alarmed by the news that young people were taking their lives into their own hands by going on the fragile ice.


He said: “It was brought to our attention recently that when at the start of December we had some snow and ice because of the below-freezing temperatures, children were playing on the pool in the fields.

“They were on there because the water iced over but by my own observations, it hadn’t frozen enough, and not all of the water had been iced, so it was very dangerous.

“It just hadn’t frozen enough this time and there was a section of the pool that hadn’t iced over at all and you could see the ducks in the water.

“We’re telling kids that when it freezes again, stay out of the water.

“It has a bottom made out of peat that you would struggle to get out of from if you fell in – you could get your feet stuck.

“We wouldn’t be able to get the boat out in time from the shed to save anyone either.

“It really is dangerous in there and we just want the children to stay off the ice – it’s not a play area.”

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A spokesman for the association added: “We have life rings in place should you see anyone needing help but please do take the time to teach your little ones that the pond is cold and deep and the ice will be thin.

“Please especially inform kids aged eight-12 who may not think of the danger but may be out without adult supervision in the park.”

Last week, north Shropshire was covered in snow and temperatures fell across the area to as low as -5 with much of the country also affected.