'This is my purpose': Dad carries on drowned daughter's legacy

17th October 2017 7:00 AM
10 YEARS ON: Andrew Plint still grieves for his young daughter but is determined her death will not be in vain. At Hannah's memorial garden in Walloon. 10 YEARS ON: Andrew Plint still grieves for his young daughter but is determined her death will not be in vain. At Hannah's memorial garden in Walloon. Melanie Keyte

TEN years has not eased Andrew Plint's pain, nor has it dented his resolve.

The founder and director of drowning prevention charity Hannah's Foundation last week marked the 10-year anniversary of his young daughter's death.

As usual, he told his little girl he loved her, watched Hannah's favourite movie and reminded himself how many lives the foundation has saved.

"Changes to the legislation have meant that less kids are drowning and seeing those smaller numbers has been a really big achievement because I know there are a number of kids alive today because of those changes, and I'm really grateful for that," he said.

"If I reach one person with Hannah's story and something sticks with them, maybe they'll tell somebody else and create that snowball effect of spreading awareness.

"I could spend hours talking to a crowd of one, because it's my passion and I know it makes a difference."

The Plint family established the foundation after their toddler drowned in their Laidley backyard pool in 2007 and have since tirelessly campaigned for tougher pool barrier regulations, smarter survival-focused swimming lessons and increased adult supervision.

Mr Plint said their goal was to ensure active and constant adult supervision of children but emphasised the need for back-up measures.

"The loss of Hannah is actually quite easy to speak about because it's such a common occurrence. You hear the story from so many parents, and it's not just drowning related," he said.

"It's the low-speed run-overs, it's the kids who just went outside and had a fall, it's those few seconds when, as a parent, you're distracted by something else.

"The supervision can break down, which is why having those barriers to slow down access is important.

"There is no cure for drowning, there is only prevention."

Though Mr Plint still struggles with his family's grief, he never tires of talking about his little "princess".

"I don't get emotionally exhausted talking about Hannah because she's such an important part of my life and I love talking about her - it energises me," he said.

"The foundation and spreading Hannie's message is my purpose."

For more information, visit www.hannahs foundation.org.au.