Step-daughter of Jarrow bus driver who drowned on holiday prepares to take on 10k in his memory

The late Carl Dunlop with step-daughter Bethany Potts.
The late Carl Dunlop with step-daughter Bethany Potts.
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A schoogirl will take part in a run as she pays tribute to her step-father who died when they were on a family holiday.

Bethany Potts got into difficulty in the sea off Salou in Spain when they were on a break last October.

Bethany Potts putting in some fitness training.

Bethany Potts putting in some fitness training.

The 13-year-old had taken a water safety course that summer and was able to pull herself to safety, but Carl Dunlop, 48, died.

Bethany’s mum Joy, 38, was left heartbroken after the loss of her soul mate who she intended to marry after their first family getaway abroad turned into a nightmare holiday.

Now Bethany, who saw Carl as a father figure, has signed up to the Great North 10k Family Mile in Gateshead on 3 July as a way of raising funds in her step-dad’s memory and to boost the funds of the RNLI.

Joy, from Jarrow, said: “We are all so proud of Bethany for how she is handling this.

“When I met Carl, it was really important that I found someone who Bethany would get on with and he looked after her like she was his own.

"Bethany saw him as a father to her, which makes it even more sad.

“Bethany has completed the Junior Great North Run before but this year will be the first time she has taken part in an event and raised money for charity.

“The Great North 10k Family Mile will be a great way for her to raise money for the RNLI in her step-dad’s memory.

“She will then take part in the Junior Great North Run in September so this will be a good way to kick-start her efforts."

Joy and Carl, who was a driver for Stagecoach, had met at work and had been together for three years when tragedy struck,

Joy added: “On the day we went to the beach, it was the hottest day of the holiday and it was very crowded.

"I’m not a strong swimmer so I only went in for a little while but Bethany was in up to her waist.

“There was no sign of panic and the sea was full of holidaymakers, we think what happened was just a freak accident.

“Around an hour later Bethany came running out and she looked panicked, she said she had struggled in the water and Carl had tried to help her.

"She ended up clawing at the sand to escape.

“She said she saw Carl looking panicked but then had lost him and I heard people shouting for a lifeguard and when I heard sirens, I just had that awful sinking feeling that they were looking for Carl.

“She described how she was enjoying herself one moment then found herself fighting against the water. It shows how quick things can change and that people need to be aware of the dangers.”

Bethany took part in two Amateur Swim Association (ASA) safety courses during her summer holidays last year and Joy believes that they played a part in saving

Bethany’s life.

She wants to attend another course this summer and hopes to raise awareness about the importance of children learning how to be safe in the water.

Joy added: “We all still really miss Carl but Bethany said she would like to do run in the Great North 10k Family Mile and the Junior Great North Run in his memory.

“It’s really important to support the RNLI in their quest to educate children about what they should do if they start to struggle in the water. “

The North East’s biggest 10k running event is returning to Gateshead on Sunday, July 3, and participants will cross the finish line inside the iconic Gateshead International Stadium.

For the first time this year, The Great North 10k Gateshead will feature the Great North 10k Family Mile and Great North 10k Toddler Dash, two events that are designed for families to enjoy getting active together.

People can enter the Great North 10k Gateshead and the Great North 10k Family Events via greatrun.org/north10k
Anyone who would like to sponsor Bethany can donate here.