Dog walker Alex Hardy

It was a walk Alex Hardy and his fiancée Jo Wardle had done countless times before with the dogs along Hendon Beach in Sunderland. Only this day one of the dogs got into trouble in the water. Alex instinctively went to help but slipped, banged his head and was washed into the sea. Jo recounts what happened that day and why she respects the water.

Alex snuggling with his dog

‘Alex and I were walking the dogs along the beach – we used to go there all the time, it was just a normal day.

‘Alex’s dog went down a slipway into the sea but started to struggle. Alex followed, wanting to help, but slipped and banged his head and was then washed out to sea himself. I rushed in to try and reach him, but the water was just so powerful.

‘A huge search took place, but he was gone – at just 32 years old. It was such a massive shock, how a simple walk at the coast can suddenly turn into tragedy.’ 

I am still totally devastated. I respect the sea and coastline more now than ever. I’d urge anyone heading to the coast this Summer to be really careful – even if you’re not planning to go into the water, you could still find yourself in danger.

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