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Home » Police investigate death of four-year-old boy at Devon activity centre – The Guardian

Police investigate death of four-year-old boy at Devon activity centre – The Guardian

Boy found in swimming pool at Knapp House in Northam during family holiday organised by Narcotics Anonymous
Police are investigating the death of a four-year-old boy believed to have drowned at the end of a week-long family holiday organised by Narcotics Anonymous.
Officers and paramedics were called to Knapp House activity centre in north Devon on bank holiday Monday after the child was reported missing.
The police helicopter was involved in the search and the boy was discovered in a swimming pool at the centre. He was taken to North Devon district hospital in Barnstaple but could not be saved.
Devon and Cornwall police said they were treating the death as unexplained.
A force spokeswoman said: “Police were notified around 2.55pm yesterday [Monday 28 August], to reports of a missing four-year-old boy at Knapp House activity centre in Northam, Bideford.
“Following an extensive search assisted by the police helicopter, the child was located in a swimming pool at the site and taken to North Devon district hospital where he was pronounced deceased.
“The boy’s next of kin have been informed and inquiries continue. Officers are investigating the circumstances and the death is currently being treated as unexplained.”
A spokesperson for Devon Narcotics Anonymous Campout Committee said something had gone “horrifically wrong”.
The spokesperson said: “For the sixth year running, we have organised a week-long summer holiday campout for members of Narcotics Anonymous and their families at Knapp House and we all enjoyed a wonderful week of sharing lives of complete freedom from drug and alcohol use.

“One of the activities we organise with Knapp House is the supervised use of their swimming pool with their trained lifeguards. Very tragically, something has gone horrifically wrong, and a young child of one of our members drowned in the pool. We are not aware of the exact details of how this happened, and the police are obviously investigating.
“As a committee, we have worked tirelessly to try to provide a fabulous event for our fellow NA members, and we are devastated that a truly wonderful week has ended so tragically. We find all attempt at expressing our sorrow and concern for the parents and siblings of this child inadequate, but as is normal in our fellowship, they will have plenty of support as they face their tragedy.
“In Narcotics Anonymous, we share no specific religious beliefs, but the entire campsite formed a circle, held hands, and prayed for the family and their lost child.”
Knapp House is a family business that has been operating since 1982. It offers a range of outdoor activities within its grounds and at the north Devon coast.
Its directors, Ashley and Stuart Clements, said: “It is with great sadness that we can confirm that a four-year-old boy has drowned in the swimming pool at our activity centre during an event organised by Narcotics Anonymous.
“Our deepest sympathies go out to the young boy’s family and friends. The group had the use of the pool on a self-supervised basis for recreational use – it was not part of the planned activity programme that we provide.
“The event has always been a great success, but we are all absolutely devastated that, this year, it has ended in such tragic circumstances.
“We are fully committed to understanding exactly how this could have happened and will continue to liaise with the emergency services, the Health and Safety Executive and Narcotics Anonymous to establish this.”
Devon NA advertised the campout as a chance for fun and fellowship in the stunning Devon countryside.
It said: “We have a children’s activities tent, a free creche, and organised activities for older children at evening meeting times, a supervised swimming pool, onsite catering, and free tea and coffee.”
NA describes itself as a “non-profit fellowship or society of men and women for whom drugs had become a major problem. We are recovering addicts who meet regularly to help each other stay clean.”

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