A Kelso mum who endured the death of two sons in the River Tweed offers hope after lifebuoy unveiling

An inspirational Borders mum today, Monday, August 23, provided a life-line for people who find themselves in trouble in the Tweed – after two of her sons tragically died in the river.

By Paul Kelly
Monday, 23rd August 2021, 2:27 pm
Anne Moriarty at the newly installed lifebuoy at the Cobby, Kelso. (Photo: BILL McBURNIE)
Anne Moriarty at the newly installed lifebuoy at the Cobby, Kelso. (Photo: BILL McBURNIE)

Anne Moriarty’s 13-year-old son Martin died in 2009 after he was pulled under the waters by a strong current while swimming with friends at the Cobby – a popular beauty spot down from Floors Castle.

Last year Martin’s brother, Andrew, 28, was also found dead in the Tweed after disappearing following a night out.

Today Anne hung a lifebuoy near the scene of the 2009 tragedy after launching a fundraising campaign to provide life-saving equipment.

Martin Moriarty.

Anne, 58, said: “I started off the campaign on my own and I got a lot of support on Facebook and then I got in touch with Kelso councillor Euan Robson who came onboard, who brought town provost Dean Weatherston onboard and the fire service and water rescue came onboard too. Between us all it has come together quickly.

"This would have particularly helped Martin because he was reachable with an aid and it’s something I’ve looked to do since way back then and it has brought me some comfort now, knowing that it was happening and was going to be done.

"I’m doing this in the memory of my two sons and in the memory of everyone who has lost their lives down there. I hope their families also get consolation from this and the hope that we won’t see any more tragedies on that stretch of water.

"I hope that the lifebuoys never have to be used but if they do and they save a life, then it will have been worth it.

Andrew Moriarty.

"Now it’s just going to be a process of fundraising and getting planning permission and then to keep the campaign going in schools, maybe starting some youth groups for water safety.”

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service also carried out a water safety demonstration at Cobby on the Tweed today.

Councillor Robson said: “The lifebuoy was placed on a nearby wall with the permission of Roxburghe Estates to mark the start of a water safety campaign in Kelso. This will involve the permanent location of a number of lifebuoys on the riverside and an educational programme for which fundraising will start shortly.”

Installation of a new lifebuoy at the Cobby, Kelso attended by Fire & Rescue Area Commander Stephen Gourlay, Kelso Provost Dean Weatherston, Anne Moriarty and Councillor Euan Robson. (Photo: BILL McBURNIE)
Galashiels Watch Commander Vinny Blair with John Douglas and Finlay Grieve get a seat on the rescue Rib coxwained by Hawick firefighter James Nelson. (Photo: BILL McBURNIE)
Galashiels Firefighter Garry Douglas demonstrating the proper use of the newly installed lifebuoy at the Cobby, Kelso. (Photo: BILL McBURNIE)