THEY were just two years into their dream lifestyle after leaving Glasgow behind for a new adventure in South Africa.

Kirsty and James Doig and their three children were enjoying the sun filled days and outdoor opportunities.

The couple had ensured that swimming lessons were a priority when they embarked on their new life in Cape Town as they knew their children would want to take full advantage of having a pool.

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However, it wasn't enough to prevent the tragic drowning of their beloved daughter Darcey. She was just three-years-old when she drowned during an incident in a pool on Valentine's Day 2020.

HeraldScotland: Darcey Doig loved to swim and be outdoorsDarcey Doig loved to swim and be outdoors

"There was an incident in the swimming pool when two children collided," said Mrs Doig. "One had a burst nose which was bleeding and in that time Darcey was still in the water. She loved to swim to bottom and collect things and we'll never know for sure what happened that day whether or not something happened before or during the collision, but she tragically died that day.

"We had been very careful when we knew that we were moving to South Africa to ensure that Darcey and Hunter were able to swim and I was pregnant at the time with Lachlann when we moved.

"Darcey was a ray of sunshine from the moment she was born. Her big brother insisted we name her Sunshine and it was one of her middle names. She would spend hours in the swimming pool and could swim well, but as we've come to sadly learn that wasn't enough."

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In Darcey's memory James and Kirsty they have set up the Darcey Sunshine Foundation to bring water safety education to South African schools.

The charity's ethos is that while there is no cure for drowning there is education to prevent it from happening.

About 800 people a year die from drowning in South Africa. Three-quarters of the deaths are children with five to 15-year-olds most at risk, according to the country's National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI).

HeraldScotland: A swim programme in her memory launched in 2021A swim programme in her memory launched in 2021

As they look towards the third year of the foundation’s programme in 2023, they are holding a fundraiser in Glasgow on November 3.

The event will be held at Oran Mor with more than 200 guests and an auction.

Mrs Doig, 38, originally from Dumbreck, said: "It is our goal to remove the financial barriers to water safety education for children from our most vulnerable communities with the goal of impacting the devastating statistics of child drowning in South Africa.

"It is not just here in South Africa where we can help we want to raise awareness of water safety through our social media channels as it is a message which applies to any country, Scotland and the UK included.

"We want to provide a practical education in the skill of surviving in the water. One of the most famous places near us is the Winelands and there are a lot of farm dams in communities where children are left unsupervised near water."

HeraldScotland: Darcey Doig, left, with her brothers Lachlann and HunterDarcey Doig, left, with her brothers Lachlann and Hunter

As well as teaching the skills about what to do in emergency, Mrs Doig says it is also about encouraging instinct to kick in and also safe rescues.

She added: “We aim to teach children from vulnerable communities not only how to swim, but how to be safe and keep their friends safe around water. We also aim to ensure our kids know what to do in case of emergency.

"Often we hear about two children drowning when another has got into difficulty trying to rescue the other. So, we look at how to rescue a friend safely, calling for help and being able to do CPR. Each child that takes part in the programme receives a swim bag with towel, costume, and cap, allowing them to enjoy their classes on an even platform."

In the first year of the programme more than 40 youngsters took part with the number rising to 138 in 2022.

HeraldScotland: Kirsty Doig wants to educate young people on water safetyKirsty Doig wants to educate young people on water safety

The fundraising event in November will just be the second time since losing her daughter that Mrs Doig will have returned to Scotland.

"We really want to raise awareness through the event and for people to be aware of the risks in the water even when your child is a confident swimmer,” she added. “I think people feel it is safer when their children can swim, but that also brings added risks. With that increased confidence they are likely to do more so supervision and education are still important. Hopefully the funds we raise in November will help us to do that next year."

HeraldScotland: Kirsty Doig teaching water safety to a young pupilKirsty Doig teaching water safety to a young pupil

Mrs Doig has had to find the right balance of fear and allowing her sons Hunter, 11, and Lachlann, four, to be able to enjoy the water safely.

"When the accident first happened I wanted all of the water drained from our pool and didn't want to see it, but our daughter loved swimming. It was everything to her and I couldn't have the boys growing up with a fear factor. I didn't want them to be scared. It was important to us to make sure that they were safe, confident swimmers."

To find out more about the Oran Mor event or to make a donation to help fund water safety go to