What should have been a perfect Good Friday when sun seekers descended in their thousands onto Eastbourne’s beaches, ended in near tragedy with a young woman fighting for her life in intensive care.
Young mum Tina Heaney was pulled from the sea near the pier by a friend, after her lifeless body was seen floating in the water.
A week later and the paramedics - who thankfully arrived within minutes - would have been beaten to the scene by lifeguards watching over the beach.
Unlike Brighton and Bournemouth, Eastbourne made no provision to bring forward the patrols, in spite of predictions of a heatwave weekend and the distinct chance of a packed seafront.
The reasoning was that although air temperatures were much higher than average, the sea remained colder and bathers were not encouraged to go into the water.
Fine in theory but let’s be frank. People aren’t going to pack onto a beach in hot sunshine without some of them venturing into the sea - however chilly the water and whatever the dangers. It just doesn’t happen. This is a holiday resort.
Hindsight is wonderful and those making that decision would no doubt react differently in the light of what happened.
William Mongan’s reaction is understandable. What father wouldn’t be angry as he watches over his daughter fighting for her life in hospital.
Let’s pray for her recovery. And let’s hope that the next time there is a spell of unseasonably hot weather, it doesn’t take our beach managers so much by surprise.
TALKING of health and safety, on a lighter note (hopefully) the big day is here and Eastbourne is set to celebrate.
In spite of the best efforts to put a dampener on royal wedding street parties, some 14 neighbourhoods will be closing their roads and enjoying a royal knees-up.
With the council’s help, dozens of other communities will be doing their own thing by way of off-street celebrations.
Love or loathe the wedding hype, you can’t deny that the day will pull many people closer together. If that doesn’t work for you, then just enjoy the long weekend!