Family to set up charity after death of Uckfield kayaker

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The family of a kayaker from Uckfield, who died while on a solo sea kayaking trip, plan to set up a charity to raise awareness of sea safety.

Dominic Jackson, 35, was reported missing on Sunday night (February 5) after he failed to return from a sea kayaking trip on the north coast of Scotland.

A massive land, sea and air search was launched with specialists and dozens of volunteers involved, and Police Scotland recovered a body from the water near Lybster on Thursday.

Mr Jackson, who is originally from Uckfield but had been living and working in Scotland for several years, was been described as being ‘exceptionally fit and healthy’ by his family.

His sister Ellie has now launched an online fundraising drive to create a charity in Mr Jackson’s name to promote the use of personal locator beacons (PLBs) among adventurers.

She believes her brother’s death was “completely preventable” had he been carrying a PLB, which cost around £100 and alert search and rescue services to a carrier’s location in the event of an emergency.

Ms Jackson hopes to raise £5,000 and plans to work with the RNLI to raise awareness of PLBs and safety logging procedures through an app and website.

Writing on the JustGiving page set up for the fundraising effort, Ms Jackson said: “This accident was completely preventable had Dom been wearing a PLB.

“Dom was alone at sea in freezing conditions completely unknown to anyone and it wasn’t until 36 hours after his disappearance that the alarm was first raised.

“Dom’s body was eventually found six days after first going missing, over 50 miles away from the primary search area.”

Around 10 members of his family including his father Jeremy, brothers Stuart and Leighton and sister Kirstie joined the search efforts..

Ms Jackson added: “The search involved police, RNLI and Coastguard utilising several helicopters, lifeboats and light aircraft together with numerous teams of searches on the cliff tops.

“The cost of this operation would have been enormous. We feel the public has little awareness of how inexpensive technology such as PLBs can be used to prevent tragedies like this and Dom’s family would like to use his legacy to prevent any other family having to go through the pain of such a senseless waste of life.

“All monies raised will be spent on initial costs involved in setting up a charity in Dom’s name.

“Once the charity has been set up and working together with the support of the RNLI, the overall aim will be to campaign to raise awareness of the use of PLBs and correct sea safety logging procedures via an app and website.

“Further down the track, we would be looking to provide educational material to support the teaching of this information to children and adults to ensure that carrying a PLB at sea is as common to everyone as wearing a seatbelt in a car or a lifejacket on the water.

{Visit www.justgiving.com to find the family’s appeal|https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/domjackson?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=Yimbyprojectpage&utm_content=domjackson&utm_campaign=projectpage-share-owner&utm_term=YnNEkvwvg}

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