Mum of drowned Cork toddler tells of her utter devastation and campaigns for State-funded swim lessons

Mum of drowned Cork toddler tells of her utter devastation and campaigns for State-funded swim lessons
Avery Greene supplied by his mother Amanda Cambridge. Courtesy of Cork's Red FM. Regards, Olivia

THE mother of toddler Avery James Greene, who tragically drowned in a pool in Spain last August, is campaigning to get young children state-funded swim lessons to prevent her heartbreaking reality happening to another family.

Amanda Cambridge took to the airwaves today alongside her friend Eimear Barry, who teaches swim lessons to children aged three months old and upwards, to highlight the importance of the lifesaving skill.

“If I have to tell my story 100 times over just to get one parent, one family into the water to teach their children how to respect the water, to teach them how to get out of difficulty, my family can save one other family and my job is done,” Amanda said.

Speaking to Neil Prendeville on RedFM, Amanda told listeners she blames herself for her son’s death and when Avery died, a part of her died as well.

The mother, who also has two daughters, described the day Avery was found in the pool and how she, and her husband Eric Greene, didn’t hesitate to donate their son’s organs to save the lives of other young children.

“We didn’t hesitate. We told them, ‘take what you can,’” Amanda said.

Amanda said she had been cleaning up the apartment they were staying in as her husband was flying over to join her, their three children and her father, on holidays.

“He wanted his bottle and he wanted to watch Paw Patrol. So I lay him on the couch with his blanket and his bottle and tucked him in.

“I went off about tidying. When I came back out all that was left out was a bottle and two blankets.

“I didn’t panic because it didn’t even pop into my head that he had left. I checked the bedroom, called him. I thought he was hiding, I went outside.” 

It wasn’t until the man next door said there is a baby in the pool that Amanda realised something was wrong.

“I knew it straight away, I ran, I turned the corner and I could see him lying there. But I just couldn’t get to him fast enough. He was so close but he was so far away.

“I could hear my feet thumping off the floor, I could hear myself screaming his name.” 

Eimear Barry, who teaches swimming with Turtletots.ie to children aged three months to four years, outlined the fact that drowning is the second biggest cause of accidental death in children in Ireland.

And as well as this, drowning is more common in children aged one to four.

Eimear has written to the Department of Education regarding their campaign to get state-funded lessons for young children and is passionate about getting as many children used to the water at a very early age as possible.

“It is a privilege to start swimming at this age,” Eimear said.

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