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Eryk’s family ‘overwhelmed’ by Kirkcaldy community’s support

November 21 2011

The family of the boy who was swept out to sea in Kirkcaldy have decided to open his funeral to the public. Jadwiga Cieraszewski, who has made Fife her home since moving from Poland, has asked for details of the funeral to be publicised having been ''overwhelmed'' by the support she received after her three-year-old son Eryk drowned at Kirkcaldy Esplanade a week past Saturday. The town united in grief and many flowers and messages of sympathy have been left at the scene of the tragedy. Fife Migrants Forum, which has been in close contact with Ms Cieraszewski (27), has said thank you on behalf of the family. ''The family of the late Eryk Cieraszewski have been overwhelmed by the kindness, support and sympathy shown to them by the people of Fife,'' said a spokeswoman for the forum. ''They wish to make it known that the funeral mass will take place at St Marie's Church in Kirkcaldy on Friday, November 25, at 11am and will be followed by a short service at the crematorium at 12.40pm.'' Eryk, who was with his six-year-old sister Oliwia at the time, was swept into the Firth of Forth while playing in puddles at the Esplanade. Ms Cieraszewski tried desperately to grab hold of her son before a second wave pulled him out of her reach. The incident highlighted the dangers posed by the sea at Kirkcaldy during high tide. At the request of Ms Cieraszewski, flowers, gifts and messages of condolence have been moved from the Esplanade to the forum's office at Law's Close, 341b High Street above the tourist information office for safe keeping. The spokeswoman added: ''Anyone who wishes to leave further messages or sign the book of condolence is welcome to do so at our office. "Fife Migrants Forum have supported the family since this tragic event occurred and will continue that support in the difficult weeks and months to come. ''We would like to express our sincere thanks to all the individuals, police and organisations who have helped us be able to support the family. We will depend on your continued assistance. ''We would also like to pay tribute to the people of Fife for their outpouring of kindness and sympathy at this difficult time and it is a reflection of why so many of us have chosen to make our home here in Fife.''


‘I go over it in my head every moment of the day’ mother battling torment seven months on from Kirkcaldy Esplanade tragedy

July 3 2012

The mother of a toddler who drowned after being swept from Kirkcaldy Esplanade by a freak wave has spoken for the first time about the tragedy. Jadwiga Serafin admits that internet rumours suggesting she was at fault for three-year-old Eryk Cieraszewski's death have almost driven her to take her own life. The 28-year-old single mum from Poland has also spoken about the impact of the accident on her five-year-old daughter, who refuses to accept that little Eryk is gone. Oliwia was at the Esplanade with her mum and brother on a sunny Saturday afternoon last November when a huge wave knocked Eryk off his feet and dragged him backwards through a gap in the sea wall. Jadwiga tried desperately to grab hold of her boy but she wasn't quick enough and he was swept 20 metres out into the Firth of Forth. She said: ''Eryk and Oliwia were splashing in the puddles, about two metres from the break in the wall. I took my camera out to take a picture and a big wave came over and took him away. ''I couldn't believe it. I went into shock. I started screaming but I was so panicked that I could only speak in Polish. ''People couldn't understand me so I went through the gap and down the stairs myself. I waded in, up to my waist. I could hear Oliwia crying for me to stay with her. ''I looked and looked but I couldn't see Eryk so I came back up. I was running along the promenade when I saw him in the water. ''I started pointing and I went to jump in but some people grabbed hold of my clothes and held me back. They were trying to talk me out of it. Oliwia was crying out 'don't leave me, mummy, don't leave me.'' The emergency services were immediately scrambled to the scene and a lifeboat from Kinghorn pulled Eryk from the water a few minutes later. The toddler had no pulse and he was immediately rushed ashore where resuscitation attempts began in a waiting ambulance. He was taken under police escort to the Victoria Hospital a few hundred yards away, where efforts to revive him continued for over an hour. But doctors were unable to save his life and Eryk was pronounced dead an hour and a half after the rescue, with his distraught mother by his side.'I keep wishing I'd jumped in'A police spokesman later described the death as ''a tragic accident'', but Jadwiga, who emigrated to Fife from Krakow in 2006, admits she often blames herself. She said: ''I go over it in my head every moment of the day. I dream about it at night. I keep wishing I'd jumped in after him. I could have died but I wish I had gone in. ''People talk about me on the internet. They say it's my fault, that I'm a bad mother, and that I'm stupid. Sometimes I think that I am a bad mother if I hadn't taken him to the promenade that day nothing would have happened. ''But it was a nice day. The sun was out. And Eryk was begging me to take him to the beach. 'Just 10 or 20 minutes,' he was saying. I was tired after working late but I agreed because he loved being out in the sun. ''Every day I feel bad (about that decision). When I wake up in the morning I feel like I want to die. But I have to stay here for Oliwia. I have to stay strong for her.'' Eryk began attending the nursery at North Primary School in Kirkcaldy last November, shortly before he died. His sister Oliwia is due to start primary two at the same school after the summer. Seven months on from the tragedy, the five-year-old refuses to accept that Eryk isn't coming back.'She waits for him'Jadwiga said: ''When she goes to school in the morning she tells me that Eryk should be coming too. She thinks he's still here. Sometimes she won't leave. She waits for him. ''The school are very good. They gently explain to her that he's gone. But she doesn't believe it. When we go shopping she tells me to buy things for him, like clothes. It's heartbreaking. ''I blame myself because I didn't want her to see the coffin or come to the funeral. But I thought I was protecting her.'' Jadwiga is also struggling to move on, preferring to keep the tot's bedroom exactly as it was on the day he died. ''Eryk's room has not been touched. His toys, his clothes are all there. I like to smell him on his clothes,'' she said, with tears rolling down her cheeks. Fife councillor Mark Hood, who saw the drama unfold, described the events of that day as a ''horrific tragedy''. ''I saw the mother and the look of anguish on her face will stay with me forever,'' he said. ''It was probably the worst thing I have ever witnessed she was in complete and utter distress.'' The father of twin girls said the dangers were ''not immediately obvious''. ''The Esplanade was busy with lots of families. People were attracted by the large waves and there were a lot of kids there who were wet. There was a lot of water coming over but I've seen it worse. And it was a relatively nice day. ''I certainly wouldn't blame the mother in any way. There was little anyone could have done.''£9 million plan to improve safetyThe engineer responsible for a £9 million upgrade of the sea wall at Kirkcaldy has been urged to ''close the gaps'' by Jadwiga Serafin. Works due to start in the spring will see the concrete wall raised by half a metre to one-and-a half-metres and a new rock armour barrier built, which it is hoped will prevent water crashing on to the Esplanade. Jadwiga said: ''This place is very dangerous so I hope they do it quickly. It's very important not for me, for other families. I don't want another mother to feel this way. ''But they have to close the gaps. Some kind of gate would be good, that's my suggestion. ''Many of my friends say the same, particularly the ones with lots of kids, because it's so difficult to watch all of them all of the time.'' In a progress report delivered to a meeting of Kirkcaldy area committee on June 20, consultant engineer Murray Scott, who is in charge of the upgrade, said: ''The raised wall and rock armour revetment will reduce the risk of overtopping and consequential flooding causing a hazard to public safety.'' Speaking to The Courier, he said everyone associated with the project has been hit hard by Eryk's death. ''It's a regrettable course of events that has affected us all. It's a horrific thing for any parent and family to have to deal with. I can't imagine what it must be like for the mother. It's just awful.'' He moved to reassure Eryk's family that the council will do everything possible to prevent a repeat of the tragedy. ''Our aspirations are obviously to improve safety.'' Jadwiga welcomed Mr Scott's comments, saying: ''That's the only way to avoid this kind of accident happening again, because the water doesn't have to be strong. A small child can quite easily be swept away, it doesn't have to be a powerful wave.''In Wednesday's Courier: Jadwiga pays tribute to those who helped her in the depths of her despair

Motoring news

Audi’s new Q cars

April 12 2017

Another week, another new Audi. Two new Audis, in fact. The German car maker has announced a couple more additions to its Q line up of SUVs. The Q4 is a coupe-SUV hybrid that will go up against the BMW X4 and Mercedes GLC Coupe. As its name suggests, it’ll be positioned between the compact Q3 and bigger Q5. At the other end of the scale is the Q8, which will go head to head against the Range Rover. It’s lower and sleeker than the Q7 Audi is also producing. In concept form, it sat only four people, although it seems likely the production version will be a five seater. There’s a 630 litre boot as well. Eagle eyed Audi followers will notice the only SUV slots left to fill are the Q1 and Q6. Watch this space...

This student took his Tinder profile to the next level by turning it into a PowerPoint presentation

February 21 2018

Standing out from the crowd on Tinder can be tough, but with the help of Microsoft PowerPoint a British student has managed just that – and gone viral in the process.Sam Dixey, a 21-year-old studying at Leeds University, made a six-part slideshow entitled “Why you should swipe right” – using pictures and bullet points to shrewdly persuade potential dates to match with him on the dating app. The slideshow includes discussion of his social life and likes, such as “petting doggos” and “laser tag”, and “other notable qualities and skills” – such as being “not the worst at sex” and “generous when drunk”.It even has reviews mocked up from sources such as “Donald Trump”, “Leonardo Di Capri Sun” and “The Times Guide to Pancakes 2011”.Sam told the Press Association the six-slide presentation only took about 20 minutes to make and “started off as a joke”.However, since being posted to Twitter by fellow Tinder user Gracie Barrow, Sam’s slideshow has been shared tens of thousands of times across social media.So, it’s got the seal of approval form Gracie, but how has the slideshow fared on Tinder? “I’d have to say it has been pretty successful,” Sam said. “Definitely a clear correlation of matches and dates beforehand to afterwards.“Most of the responses tend to revolve around people saying ‘I couldn’t help swipe right 10/10’ but I’ve had some people go the extra mile and message me on Facebook.“Plus some people have recognised me outside, in the library and on dates.”A resounding success.


‘I didn’t think anyone would want to’ mum thanks those who helped after Eryk tragedy

July 4 2012

Jadwiga Serafin did not expect to be offered any support following the tragic death of her three-year-old son. When little Eryk drowned after being swept into the Firth of Forth by a freak wave, the 28-year-old single mum from Krakow assumed she would be blamed for the accident. She even admitted that her guilt about the decision to take her children to the Esplanade on that fateful day almost drove her to take her own life But in her darkest hour, charity Fife Migrants Forum became a tower of strength, translating for the emergency services, taking care of paperwork and setting up Polish-speaking counselling sessions. Jadwiga said: ''At first I thought people would be angry with me. I thought I had done something wrong. I didn't think anyone would want to help, but I was so pleased when they did.'' Marta Burtan, one of the forum's volunteers, worked closely with Jadwiga. The 21-year-old student said: ''As soon as we found out about the accident we wanted to see what we could do. ''When I first went to see Jadwiga after it happened I was so scared. I was worried I'd say the wrong thing. It was a horrible situation for her. ''I found it very difficult and I was always trying not to cry. Of course, I had to stay strong for Jadwiga and Oliwia. But when I went home at night I was often upset.'' Forum chairman Maciej Dokurno, added: ''It was a difficult time for all of us. We actually had to offer counselling to our volunteers, because it was so traumatic. I can't imagine what it must have been like for the family.'' Fife Migrants Forum in Kirkcaldy offers practical and emotional support for people who fall on hard times after settling in the region. Maciej said: ''In Jadwiga's case, we liaised with police in the very early stages, recognising that there is a language barrier. We also helped with all the paperwork that you have to do when someone dies. We took care of all of that. ''We then arranged for a Polish-speaking counsellor to meet with Jadwiga and her daughter. We also set up a book of condolences, which a lot of people came up and signed. There were a lot of young parents and some teachers. I remember that many of them were in pieces. ''The forum very much became a focal point for people who wanted to offer support and grieve for Eryk.'' Jadwiga has heaped praise on the forum, describing volunteers as ''amazing''. She said: ''Fife Migrants Forum helped me so much. They did everything for me. And Marta has become a real friend. She was calling me every day after it happened. We're still in touch regularly. ''If not for Fife Migrants Forum, I don't know what I'd have done. I've also had great support from Fife Gingerbread, Home-Start Kirkcaldy and Fife Women's Aid. I'm so grateful for all of the help. It's been beautiful.''Find out more about Fife Migrants Forum at www.fifemigrantsforum.org.uk


‘We will never forget him’ Kirkcaldy united in grief after death of little Eryk

November 14 2011

A Fife town has been united in grief following the tragic death of a three-year-old boy who was swept out to sea. The youngster today named as Eryk Cieraszewski was pulled into the Firth of Forth at Kirkcaldy on Saturday afternoon by a giant wave. His distraught motherJadwiga could only watch in horror. In a short statement issued through police, Jadwiga said: "Eryk will be sadly missed by all the family. We will never forget him." Some accounts say Eryk had been sitting on the sea wall having his photograph taken when the tragedy struck, although this has not been confirmed by police. The toddler was only in the water for around five minutes before he was rescued but frantic efforts to revive him failed and he was pronounced dead an hour and a half later with his family by his side. As locals laid flowers at the Esplanade in tribute to the boy, one man who was there at the time of the incident described it as the worst thing he had ever witnessed and said the anguished look on the mother's face would live with him forever. Fife councillor Mark Hood, who saw the drama unfold, has now called for better warnings about the dangers of the sea at Kirkcaldy during high tide. Eryk, who turned three in August, began nursery at Kirkcaldy's North Primary the same month. Specially trained officers were with his Polish family over the weekend to support them through the tragedy. Eryk had been on an ordinary outing with his mother and her friend on a beautiful sunny autumn day. Despite the blue skies, ferocious waves were cascading over the town's sea wall soaking passers-by. It seems one of the waves swept the youngster from the wall into the water at around 3.25pm, dragging him 20 metres out to sea. His desperate mother called the emergency services and the police, fire service, ambulance, lifeboat and coastguard were all scrambled. Firefighters wearing dry suits and attached to a safety line waded into the water to try to save him, but the coastguard boat from Kinghorn reached him first and rushed him ashore. Eryk had no pulse when he was pulled from the water and resuscitation attempts began as soon as he reached the waiting ambulance. He was then rushed under police escort to the Victoria Hospital a few hundred yards away where efforts to revive him continued until after 5pm. A Polish interpreter and a priest were called to the hospital to comfort the youngster's distressed parents and say prayers with them. Mr Hood told The Courier he came across the incident as it unfolded and described it as ''horrific''. ''When we arrived the rescue boat was looking for the wee boy and the police were trying to guide them to the spot,'' he said. ''They picked the wee boy up and sped away to the harbour." Continued... ''I saw the family and the look of anguish on their faces will stay with me.'' He added: ''At one point the ambulance was reversing back along the Prom with the mum and a policewoman running along at the back of it. It was really confusing absolute pandemonium. ''It was just frantic. It was probably the worst thing I have ever witnessed. ''There was very little anybody could do. It was horrific and to see the parents was the worst thing. ''The ambulance pulled past me with a police escort and the family were following in a police car.'' Mr Hood said that although the waves were crashing against the wall, the dangers were not immediately obvious. ''A lot of people were attracted by the large waves and there were a lot of kids there who were wet,'' he said. ''There was a lot of water coming over but I've seen it worse. "Looking back, my gut instinct was it wasn't safe and I told the police about other kids playing at the other end of the Esplanade. ''I don't think it's really obvious just how dangerous it is and maybe we could be doing more regarding safety. I can't remember ever seeing signage out there telling people to avoid it during high tide.'' A multi-million-pound upgrade is expected to begin on the sea wall next year after a report in 2008 concluded it had a residual life of less than five years and was in danger of breaching in three places. However, local MSP David Torrance said it would be wrong to blame the wall for Saturday's incident, which he described as a ''tragic accident''. ''It's just tragic circumstances. If it had not been high tide the child would have been all right,'' he said. ''My sympathies go out to the family. It's just something you would not wish on anybody.'' A police spokesman said: ''This was a tragic accident and we are doing everything we can to support the family at this very difficult time. ''Our thoughts are with them and we are providing as much practical assistance as possible." A report will be submitted to the procurator fiscal in due course and anyone who witnessed the incident is asked to contact Fife Police on 0845 600 5702.

Motoring news

Join the queue for littlest Audi Q

November 9 2016

Audi’s relentless release of new models continues with the launch of its smallest SUV. The Q2 goes on sale in the UK next week with prices starting at £22,380. There’s an extensive selection of petrol and diesel power trains as well as the option of front or Quattro four-wheel drive. More models will be added to the range later on, including powerful SQ2 and RSQ2 versions. Aimed squarely at a younger audience, the Q2 has bolder, sharper lines and a different shape to Audi’s bigger SUVs, the Q3, Q5 and Q7. Although it’s clearly meant more for buzzing around cities than growling across farmland, cladding and skid plates lend it an aura of ruggedness. Audi is also offering a range of vibrant colours to deepen the Q2’s appeal to youthful buyers. The interior is as plush as you’d expect from Audi, justifying its price hike over similarly sized SUVs like the Nissan Juke and Honda HR-V. The materials are high quality – softtouch plastics, leather on higher spec cars and brushed aluminium trim elements all blended into a smart-looking package. As standard, drivers get a seven-inch infotainment screen on top of the dashboard. It’s operated through Audi’s rotary dial system that’s far more intuitive and easier to use when on the move than rivals’ touchscreen systems. Among the many options is Audi’s excellent Virtual Cockpit - a 12.3in screen that replaces the manual instruments behind the steering wheel. Overall, the Q2 is 4.7in shorter than the A3 hatchback, but Audi says there’s enough leg and headroom for two adult passengers in the back. Boot space comes in at 405 litres – 50 more than you’ll find in the A3 hatchback and rival Nissan Juke, although it trails the Mini Countryman by the same amount. To begin with, the only diesel option is a 1.6 litre with 114bhp, although a more powerful 184bhp 2.0 litre unit will be added to the range soon. Similarly, the petrol engine range is limited for now but will be expanded by the end of the year. The 1.4 litre, 148bhp unit offered now will be joined by 1.0 litre, 114bhp three cylinder turbo and 2.0 litre, 187bhp options – the latter coming with an S-Tronic automatic gearbox. When it arrives the 1.0 litre petrol version will be the cheapest model in the range with a price tag of £20,230. Courier Motoring has yet to get its hands on the car but early reviews have been very positive and Audi looks to have yet another winner on its hands. jmckeown@thecourier.co.uk

Road tests

Audi Q2 puts quality over size

March 21 2018

Audi’s Q2 was one of the first premium compact SUVs on the market. It sits below the Q3, Q5 and the gigantic, seven seat Q7 in Audi’s ever growing range. Although it’s about the same size as the Nissan Juke or Volkswagen T-Roc, its price is comparable with the much larger Nissan X-Trail or Volkswagen Tiguan. Even a basic Q2 will set you back more than £21,000 and top whack is £38,000. Then there’s the options list which is extensive to say the least. My 2.0 automatic diesel Quattro S Line model had a base price of £30,745 but tipped the scales at just over £40,000 once a plethora of additions were totted up. Size isn’t everything, however. In recent years there’s been a trend of buyers wanting a car that’s of premium quality but compact enough to zip around town. It may be a step down in size but the Q2 doesn’t feel any less classy than the rest of Audi’s SUV range. The interior looks great and is user friendly in a way that more mainstream manufacturers have never been able to match. The simple rotary dial and shortcut buttons easily trounce touchscreen systems, making it a cinch to skim through the screen’s menus. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4eQ5p5Z7-Ek&list=PLUEXizskBf1nbeiD_LqfXXsKooLOsItB0 There’s a surprising amount of internal space too. I took three large adults from Dundee to Stirling and no one complained about feeling cramped. As long as you don’t have a tall passenger behind a tall driver you can easily fit four adults. At 405 litres the boot’s big too – that’s 50 litres more than a Nissan Juke can muster. Buyers can pick from 1.0 and 1.4 litre petrol engines or 1.6 and 2.0 litre TDIs. Most Q2s are front wheel drive but Audi’s Quattro system is standard on the 2.0 diesel, as is a seven-speed S Tronic gear box. On the road there’s a clear difference between this and SUVs by manufacturers like Nissan, Seat and Ford. Ride quality, while firm, is tremendously smooth. Refinement is excellent too, with road and tyre noise kept out of the cabin. It sits lower than the Q3 or Q5 and this improves handling, lending the Q2 an almost go-kart feel. On a trip out to Auchterhouse, with plenty of snow still on the ground, I was appreciative of the four-wheel drive as well. The Q2 is expensive – though there are some good finance deals out there – but you get what you pay for. Few cars this small feel as good as the Q2 does. Price: £30,745 0-62mph: 8.1 seconds Top speed: 131mph Economy: 58.9mpg CO2 emissions: 125g/km

Motoring news

Form an orderly Q for Audi SUV

August 10 2016

First there was the Q7. Then the Q5 and Q3. All have been a phenomenal success for Audi. I’d be surprised if that script changes when the Q2 arrives in November. Audi’s baby SUV is available to order now with prices starting at £22,380. Can’t quite stretch to that? Don’t worry, an entry level three-cylinder 1.0 litre version will be available later this year with a cover tag of £20,230. From launch, there are three trim levels available for the Q2 called SE, Sport and S Line. The range-topping Edition #1 model will be available to order from next month priced from £31,170. While the entry-level 113bhp 1.0-litre unit isn’t available right away, engines you can order now include a 113bhp 1.6-litre diesel and 148bhp 1.4-litre petrol unit, both with manual or S tronic automatic transmissions. Also joining the Q2 line-up from September is the 2.0-litre TDI diesel with 148bhp or 187bhp. This unit comes with optional Quattro all-wheel drive. A 2.0 litre petrol with Quattro and S tronic joins the range next year. Standard equipment for the new Audi Q2 includes a multimedia infotainment system with rotary/push-button controls, supported with sat-nav. Audi’s smartphone-friendly interface, 16in alloy wheels, Bluetooth connectivity and heated and electric mirrors are all also standard for the Audi. Along with the optional Audi virtual cockpit and the head-up display, the driver assistance systems for the Audi Q2 also come from the larger Audi models – including the Audi pre sense front with pedestrian recognition that is standard. The system recognises critical situations with other vehicles as well as pedestrians crossing in front of the vehicle, and if necessary it can initiate hard braking – to a standstill at low speeds. Other systems in the line-up include adaptive cruise control with Stop & Go function, traffic jam assist, the lane-departure warning system Audi side assist, the lane-keeping assistant Audi active lane assist, traffic sign recognition and rear cross-traffic assist.

Motoring news

Audi showcases raft of new cars

June 29 2016

Audi threw everything it had at the Goodwood Festival of Speed last weekend, with no fewer than nine upcoming models making their UK debuts. One of the most interesting – and affordable – was the new Q2. Audi’s smallest crossover yet, it’ll sit underneath the Q3, Q5 and big ole Q7. It will be available as a front wheel drive or with Audi’s Quattro four-wheel drive system. Under the skin there’s a choice of three TFSI petrol and three TDI diesels, with Audi’s 1.0 litre three-cylinder petrol offering 114bhp, the 1.4 litre four-cylinder sitting below the 187bhp 2,.0 litre TFSI. Diesel options are the 1.6 litre TDI with 114bhp and a pair of 2.0 litre TDIs with 148bhp or 187bhp. It goes on sale later this summer with a starting price expected to be in the region of £20,000. At the other end of the price scale is the R8 V10 Spyder. The 553bhp supercar comes a year after the second generation coupe R8 was released. Audi reckons the new Spyder is 50 per cent stiffer than the last Spyder, and its canvas roof stows beneath a massive rear deck, able to open or close at speeds up to 31mph in 20 seconds. Fuel economy “improves” to just over 24mpg thanks to a new coasting function that idles the engine when it’s not needed. Expect it to cost around £130,000. In between those two extremes are a plethora of other upcoming Audis, including the new S5 Coupe, and the Audi TT RS which first revealed a year ago is hardly new but apparently it had never been seen in the UK before. A couple of Q7s were also at Goodwood, including the Q7 e-tron plug-in hybrid, which returns a claimed 156mpg, and the SQ7 – a diesel with 429bhp. There was also the refreshed A3 range. Audi’s upmarket Golf rival has been given a styling refresh along with a few new engine options. Following a trend for downsizing, there’s a 1.0 litre three -cylinder petrol unit, while a powerful 2.0 petrol engine also joins the range.