Campaign to drain and fill in quarry where city teacher died

The scene at Prestonhill Quarry in Inverkeithing where Kelda Henderson's body was recovered. Picture: SWNS
The scene at Prestonhill Quarry in Inverkeithing where Kelda Henderson's body was recovered. Picture: SWNS

A CAMPAIGN has been launched to fill in the quarry where a popular city teacher died in a scuba diving accident.

Kelda Henderson, 36, who taught drama at George Heriot’s School, failed to resurface during a dive at the disused Prestonhill Quarry in Inverkeithing, Fife, on Sunday, July 9.

Police and emergency services mounted a rescue operation, but her body was recovered by frogmen the next day.

Ms Henderson was the fourth person to die at the site, which local residents have labelled “Scotland’s most dangerous quarry”.

Now relatives of two of the previous victims are leading a new pressure group, Action for Prestonhill, calling for the quarry to be drained and filled in and the site turned into a recreational area.

Gillian Barclay, whose 18-year-old son Cameron Lancaster died at the quarry in 2014, said: “There have been too many deaths at this quarry, and those of us who have lost someone there feel a great sense of regret and 
responsibility. Despite campaigning and speaking out about the dangers of this quarry, people are still being gravely harmed by it. We need more action now.”

After another teenager, John McKay, 18, died at the quarry in 2015, Fife Council approved funding for safety measures, including fencing and signage, as well as a memorial.

But Ms Barclay said: “While there is water there it will always attract children and young people. The safest option is to drain the quarry and fill it in to protect everyone.”

A public meeting has been called in Inverkeithing for August 29 to discuss the site.

Ms Barclay said: “I would like to encourage as many local people as possible to come along to this meeting to help us find a solution to this problem and to stop anyone else having to go through the devastation of losing a loved one at the quarry.”

Kevin O’Neil, whose brother Robert fell to his death at the quarry in 1973 when he was just 12, said: “The dangers of this quarry have been known for years and the owners of the site have failed to protect the public. It doesn’t help matters when others pull down some of the flimsy fencing but ultimately it is the responsibility of the owners to ensure the security of the site.

“The only safe option is to drain the quarry and fill it in. After that we can look at proposals to make it a recreational area that could be used by all local residents.”

Prestonhill is popular with scuba diving clubs from across Scotland, but the water at the privately-owned site is said to be littered with debris, including cars and rolls of discarded wiring. An online petition calling for the quarry to be drained was launched last month.

Ms Henderson regularly travelled overseas on diving trips, including to Thailand.

George Heriot’s principal Cameron Wyllie described her as “an immensely talented, compassionate and vibrant person who loved teaching drama” and said she had inspired a love of her subject in many young people over the years.