Wirral mum’s battle to keep kids off the tracks after death of her teenage son
Grieving mum tells the Wirral News
THE mum of a boy killed on a Wirral railway line has spoken of her fears another child will die the same way because nothing was done to stop it.
Debbie Fleckner spoke about her battle to stop other children getting on the tracks where her son, Dale, was killed, after climbing up to fetch a football.
She said, despite the 16-year-old’s death, children were still using the side of a football cage to scale a 25ft wall to get on the line just as Dale – a former Tranmere Rovers youth player – had done.
She also said, despite her efforts to raise the issue with Network Rail – which is responsible for the track – and other authorities, nothing had yet been done.
Debbie, 42, who is trying to launch a foundation in memory of Dale to educate youngsters about the perils of rail, road and water, said: “Dale’s death has affected our lives terribly. I have to walk past that area every night to go to work.
“Dale was always in the cage. He was football mad.”
Debbie said children get onto the track by pulling the cage’s wire meshing back at the top of the wall and climbing over onto the railway lines. They then scramble underneath 6ft fencing belonging to Network Rail.
She said: “I am always there telling them to get down. I have informed the police and others and nothing has been done.
“Dale was 16. He did not deserve that. I know he was in the wrong being up there, but he should not have had access to the railway line.”
Dale, who was killed last July, was electrocuted by a 750-volt power line while retrieving a football from the track between Rock Ferry and Green Lane stations.
He was playing in the caged football pitch in Union Street, just around the corner from his Tranmere home.
Debbie, a mum-of-six, is still struggling to come to terms with Dale’s death.
She is trying to set up the foundation with her friend Di Birch, who has written to the Prime Minister asking for road, rail and water safety to be part of the national curriculum. Di said: “This was an accident waiting to happen. The cage has been there for seven or eight years. If they had asked the residents whether they wanted it, they would have said ‘no’ because it is too close to the railway line.”
A Merseyrail driver first raised the alarm after seeing Dale lying on the tracks, but Diane said it took emergency services an hour to reach him.
Dale, a popular former pupil of Rock Ferry High, had just left school, finishing his exams a week before his death. More than 800 people attended his funeral.
Debbie added: “Dale was brilliant. He would do anything for anyone. He was one of the nicest lads you could ever meet.
“He was not a tearaway. He got 10 passes from his exams. He was going to do sports.
“I would not wish this on any parent. It has affected all the family.”
A spokesman for Network Rail said officials had met Ms Fleckner and were supportive of her campaign.
He added: “This was a tragic incident which highlights the dangers of trespassing on the railway.
“The railway boundary here is clearly marked and secure. There is a 25ft wall with additional fencing on top to deter trespassers and the fence was painted with anti-vandal and anti-climb paint as an extra deterrent.”
Debbie is now appealing for anyone who has knowledge of setting up a foundation or companies who can support their efforts to get in touch. Call Di Birch on 07852 290625. The Wirral news