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Boy, four, dies in pool on trip organised by drugs rehab charity

The boy was reported missing at Knapp House Activity Centre in Bideford.

A four-year-old boy is believed to have drowned in a swimming pool at an activity centre during an event organised by Narcotics Anonymous.

The boy was reported missing at the Knapp House Activity Centre in Northam, Bideford, Devon, at 2.55pm on Monday.

Devon and Cornwall Police said an “extensive search”, involving the police helicopter, took place. Paramedics were called at 3.30pm.

The boy was discovered in the swimming pool on the site and taken to North Devon District Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

A spokesman for Devon and Cornwall Police said: “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.”

South Western Ambulance Service said two rapid response vehicles and two ambulances attended the incident.

The boy was taking part in the sixth annual week-long summer holiday camp-out for members of Narcotics Anonymous (NA) and their families.

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(Rui Vieira/PA)

Devon Narcotics Anonymous Summer Holiday Campout Committee said the group had “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 life guards,” a spokeswoman said.

“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.”

Following the tragedy, the campsite formed a circle, held hands and “prayed for the family and their lost child”, she said.

Ashley and Stuart Clements, directors of Knapp House Activity Centre, insisted that the NA group had “self-supervised” use of the pool.

“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,” they said.

“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 program 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 understand 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.”

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