PLANS are being made to install new lifebuoys and signage along a Renfrewshire river after the tragic death of a 13-year-old schoolboy.

William McNally was rescued from the River Gryfe by friends earlier this month but died in hospital three days later.

Now residents in Houston hope to raise enough money to pay for lifesaving equipment and new signage in a bid to prevent a similar tragedy happening in the future.

Kelly McMillan, postmistress at The Old Smithy Shop & Post Office in Houston, is spearheading the effort to get backing from landowners and community groups in the area.

She told The Gazette: “In around six days, we’ve managed to get permission from all the relevant landowners and Renfrewshire Council to install the lifebuoys and signage.

“I’ve been aware of four drownings taking place along the River Gryfe in recent years and there are locals who have been campaigning for this for a long time.

“The number of people who have also needed to be saved from the river isn’t highlighted enough either, as it’s not just children – many of them have been adults.”

Renfrewshire Council confirmed it would support the community to install safety equipment on the council-owned section of the river once it has been provided with locations and further details.

Elderslie Estates, which owns the banks of the river above and below Houston and Crosslee, has also granted permission for the plans to go ahead.

Mark Crichton Maitland, managing partner at Houston Farms, said: “At Houston Farms and Elderslie Estates, we have all been saddened by yet another drowning in the Gryfe and offer our commiserations to William’s family and friends.

“Not only are we very happy to give access for signage and the installation of lifesaving equipment but we have also offered financial assistance.

“We haven’t seen any formal proposals or costs as yet but, when they are available, we can and will react quickly and positively.

“Lifesaving equipment in situ is important but we mustn’t forget the need for better education about the dangers of swimming in rivers. This is perhaps where social media can help with the right message, using the right platform.”

Linwood High pupil William was playing with friends near to Auchans Farm on the evening of June 2 when he got into difficulty in the water.

His death has left parents William and Sharon heartbroken.

Kelly and other volunteers plan to visit local schools to warn pupils of the dangers of swimming in the River Gryfe.

The mum-of-two added: “It could have been my son or one of his friends who died, so something has to be done.”