THE parents of a Bromsgrove student who drowned say they have made it their mission to help raise awareness of drowning.

Ian and Vicki Jones, whose son Tom drowned in the River Severn after a night out in Worcester in September last year, were speaking at the launch of Home and Dry, a new initiative between public bodies to raise awareness and help prevent accidental death by drowning.

They told the story of how Tom's disappearance unfolded.

Mrs Jones said: "Tom was a joy to have around. He was confident without being arrogant, and had a wonderful way with people.

"He had a great time in Sixth Form and said it was the best two years of his life. It was this that made him want to be a primary school teacher.

"He came back home on the weekend before his disappearance to go to the football with Ian, and it was great to catch up and hear how well he was settling in.

"Ian dropped him off back in Worcester afterwards and said 'see you on Friday mate - send your mom a text'.

"He said when we dropped him off that he was tired and would probably go straight to bed, but he changed his mind and went out with his friends.

"We sent our daily messages and when these were not answered we we called him lots of times.

"Ian was prepared to come to Worcester and we then got a phone call from one of Tom's flatmates saying he hadn't been home."

She added: "The police were overwhelmingly supportive to us and we were able from CCTV images to piece together his movements that night.

"We walked down by the river and Sabrina Bridge and were astounded that lots of the cameras were either not recording or turned off."

A campaign, involving West Mercia Police, the fire service, and search and rescue groups including the RNLI, has been brought around to try and educate the public in the dangers of cold water shock and accidental drowning, which claimed the lives of 430 people across England last year.

Other organisations involved in the multi-agency drive include West Mercia Police, West Mercia Search and Rescue, RNLI, RLSS UK, Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service.

The aim is not only educate, but to look into practical ways of preventing drowning, such as barriers and life preservers near waterways across the area.

Tom's father Ian said: "As parents, we sent Tom to uni with his list of dos and do nots, but nothing about staying away from water.

"We will never come to terms with the loss but it has become our mission to support this campaign.

"Tom was such a loss to a generation of schoolchildren who would have loved their Mr Jones."

West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion, said: "We have all got to commit to taking steps to make the situation better. I have always been a believer in that we should never doubt that a small group of very committed individuals can change the world."