A family’s first ever holiday turned into a nightmare after a quick dip in the sea at Chapel St Leonards [near Skegness].
They claimed a barrel containing a toxic chemical spilled into the sea burning the children as they played in the water.
Following a day on the beach playing with a ball and paddling in the sea, the Jackson family packed their belongings and intended heading for Walsh’s caravan site in Winthorpe, where they were staying.
But six-year-old Thomas tripped, grazing his knee, and was given first aid by a nearby lifeguard who told them to be careful of the sea as a barrel had just been pulled from it.
The Jacksons say they did not see anyone else warned and thought no more about it until the children started getting blisters.
Mr Nigel Jackson told the Standard: “It started on their feet.
“We thought the children’s sandals were rubbing, but it blistered everywhere else too.”
The first thing Monday morning the family went to Skegness hospital.
“The doctors weren’t sure what was wrong with the kids,” said Nigel.
“The blisters began to burst, forming painful, itchy scabs.”
On Wednesday the family again visited the hospital, where they were told to see a skin specialist when they got back to their home in Derby.
But the Jacksons were not satisfied.
“We went straight to a GP, Dr Jordan, who referred us straight to the Pilgrim Hospital, where the children were treated for chemical burns at first,” said Mrs Stephanie Jackson.
“Then tests were done and photographs taken. The kids were given antibiotics and cream.
“The kids are crying at night and can’t sleep. We won’t be coming here again – what’s the point of coming to a seaside resort when you can’t let your kids play safely on the beach? [there is no closing of the speech marks in the printed article]
When the Standard told director Mr John Yeardon of the family’s plight, he generously offered to let them in free.
East Lindsey District Council’s community and housing department was not notified until Wednesday, August 4, that a barrel with a scull and crossbones on it had been washed ashore the previous Sunday.
The drum, owned by Nalco, was removed by Messers Leigh En…
…The company was contacted by a volunteer lifeguard via the emergency telephone number printed on the side of the drum.
East Lindsey District Council stated: “Enquiries are continuing in order to determine how the drum arrived on this leisure beach on a busy summer weekend.”
Local Greenpeace spokeswoman, Mrs Val Wrate said: “The Skegness group feels that some sort of procedure should be adopted, as the North Sea has been used as a dumping ground for years.”
She added that she felt that such incidents were bound to get more common.
East Lindsey’s head of leisure and tourism, Mr Bob Suich, said the lifeguards, who are part of the Chapel St Leonards parish council staff, which owns the beach, had acted responsibly by calling in a contractor to clear the container and a part of the beach around it.
He also countered criticism by Greenpeace that the sea had been used as a dumping ground by taking a televised dip off the Chapel beach.
“There really is no danger in swimming off the coast. It has passed all the tests. The only way to prove it is to swim in it, which is what I have done.”
Source: Skegness Standard 1995