Mother of teenager who drowned in the Thames at Kingston pens memoir

Andrea Corrie has written a book about the loss of her son James

Andrea Corrie has written a book about the loss of her son James

First published in News Surrey Comet: Photograph of the Author by , Chief reporter

The mother of a teenager who drowned in the Thames has written a book about her loss – and her successful campaign to make Kingston riverside a safer place.

Brighton University student James Clark, 19, from Addlestone, drowned after becoming separated from friends following a night out in Kingston in the early hours of July 28, 2005.

His body was discovered after three days near Kingston Bridge and a postmortem examination revealed he had a high level of alcohol in his blood.

An inquest ruled his death accidental.

At the time his grieving mother Andrea Corrie, 58, campaigned to change the riverside area to prevent similar fatalities.

Her book, Into the Mourning Light, tells the story both of her grief and her drive to not let James’ death be repeated. Mrs Corrie, 58, said: “It is not a misery memoir.

“My hope is it will help others who are suffering the tragic loss of a child.

“It is devastating. You never get over it. You just learn to live with it.

“Writing the book has been part of the grieving process. It was helpful to express my feelings.

“It is about raising the profile of being a bereaved parent and not to be frightened of being in a situation to campaign for change.

“The council was extremely good and we never had any difficulties with it.”

Surrey Comet:

James Clark died after a night out with friends in Kingston

Following James’ death, Kingston Council created a committee to look into ways to make the riverside safer.

The committee highlighted a number of measures, such as safety railings, brighter lighting, safer mooring and benches, which were all put into place.

Pubs and businesses were also given water safety training.

A Kingston Council spokes- man said: “Many of the measures now in place to improve river safety are testament to Andrea’s tireless work with us.

“Lives have been saved thanks to the actions taken by the council, emergency services, businesses and other partners to ensure the riverside is as safe as it can be, including lifesaving equipment and efforts to educate people about potential dangers by the river, particularly when they have had a drink.

“The river safety plan is the result of the determined work by Andrea and all concerned, and is a lasting tribute to the memory of James Clark.”

Surrey Comet:

Andrea Corrie's book deals with the grief of losing a son

Mrs Corrie said: “It was not just for James, but everybody that uses that area.

“I definitely feel we can say James’ legacy has had a huge effect – it is much safer than it was.”

q Into the Mourning Light is available from Amazon, priced £8.99.

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