'Phenomenal' Response To Kayaker Safety Appeal
13 February 2017, 11:15
The sister of a kayaker who was found dead days after going missing has welcomed the "phenomenal'' response to the family's plans to set up a charity promoting sea safety.
The campaign to raise funds for the charity in memory of Dominic Jackson has raised more than £6,600 in three days.
Mr Jackson, 35, was reported missing on Sunday February 5 after he failed to return from a sea kayaking trip off Portsoy, on the north coast of Aberdeenshire.
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 in Caithness on Thursday.
His sister Ellie, who lives in Australia, has launched an online fundraising drive to create a charity, which will be called PlanB, to promote the use of personal locator beacons (PLBs) among adventurers and promote safety at sea.
She said: "Dom's death was just such a senseless waste of a life and if I leave it at that it will always be a senseless waste of a life, and I wanted to do something more. Lots of people have already said it has made a difference to them as they will be using a PLB or thinking more about their safety equipment.
"The charity will be called PlanB because Plan A is to go out and have fun, but you need a plan B if it all goes wrong.''
By Monday morning £6,685 had been raised through the JustGiving site since Friday, 66% of the £10,000 total target, with donations flooding in from across the globe.
Ms Jackson said the response has been "phenomenal''.
In a post on the JustGiving page, the family said Mr Jackson's death could have been completely preventable if he had been wearing a PLB.
They said: "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 line they will campaign 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.
They have also launched a PLanB website (which can be found at https://myplanb.life/ ) urging people who take part in adventure sports and activities to make sure they have a Plan B for emergencies.
Around 10 members of Mr Jackson's family including his father Jeremy, brothers Stuart and Leighton and sister Kirstie joined the search efforts.
The family is originally from Uckfield near Brighton but Mr Jackson, one of six siblings, lived in Aberdeenshire for around 13 years.
The JustGiving page can be found at: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/domjackson