Wheelchair user rescued from Botanic Gardens lake after fall

3rd September 2021

A disabled woman in her 30s was hospitalised after her wheelchair rolled into the lake at the Botanic Gardens on Monday.

One eyewitness told OTS News that the lady was “saved by a passer-by after screams of help.”

The circumstances surrounding the events leading up to the incident are unknown.

A North West ambulance service spokesperson confirmed the incident had taken place, saying “We were called at 13:43 and sent one ambulance and a rapid response vehicle.

“We took one patient, a female in her 30s, to hospital.”

The ‘Make A Change For Ben’ campaign has been calling for Sefton Council to clean the lake at the Botanic Gardens, following the death of Ben Smith-Crallan in 2018. Ben fell into the lake later died from complications that may have been caused from the water.

The group was set up by Ben’s best friend David Rawsthorne, and has already gained over 4,000 supporters through Facebook.

Ben Smith-Crallan died in June 2018 after falling into the lake. He was placed in an induced coma and had one leg amputated as part of attempts to fight off the effects of Necrotising Fasciitis (NF) before he tragically lost his life.

Sefton Council has since outlined ideas for up to £30,000 in improvements for the lake and lakeside area at Southport’s popular Botanic Gardens. These include new water aeration fountains, the installation of new fencing and secure lifeline stations, as well as plans for annual community clean-up events.

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The plans were discussed at a meeting in August.

At the meeting the Council, the Botanic Gardens Community Association and Make a Change for Ben agreed to prioritise the aerating fountains as the first phase.

Earlier in the week Ben Smith-Crallan’s father Peter renewed calls for railings around the lake.

He said: “We urgently need to raise the money needed to make the lake and the surrounding area safe. The rest can wait.

“In the longer term, we want to see the park brought back to how it was in the 1980s and 1990s.

“But we need to see changes made to the lake now.”

David Rawsthorne said: “It is sadly too late for Ben now. But he is the driving force behind our campaign to make the Botanic Gardens and the lake safe for others.

“We need to see safety measures made urgently.”