A BAR and nightclub left in shock after a member of staff drowned is heading up a water safety campaign.

Volunteers will be talking to revellers at Mambo, in Mill Lane, Taunton, about the dangers of walking near water when intoxicated, while messages are being displayed in the premises.

The initiative, which also involves the town's fire and rescue service, follows the tragic death of Mambo employee Mike Perry, whose body was found close to the stream in Goodland Gardens in December 2013.

An inquest ruled that Mike, 21, who was on his way home to Bishop's Hull after a night out drinking with friends, drowned, recording a verdict of accidental death.

The campaign in Mambo is part of the national Don't Drink and Drown initiative run by the charity The Royal Life Saving Society UK.

As figures show Somerset is the UK county with the highest number of alcohol-related drownings in 17 to 29-year-olds, revellers are being urged not to walk home near bodies of water after they have been drinking.

Of the ten people in that age category in the county who have drowned in the last five years, seven had alcohol in their system.

A total of 23 people drowned in Somerset over the same period, with 12 of them found to have alcohol in their blood.

Laurence Hickins, RLSS UK community drowning prevention co-ordinator for Somerset, said: "People tragically die each year because they’ve entered the water with alcohol in their bloodstream, either deliberately or completely by accident.

"Drinking near or in water can be a dangerous and deadly cocktail. Alcohol can seriously impede your ability to survive in water.

"When walking home from a night out, avoid routes that are alongside water, particularly in the darkness, and always stay with and look out for your friends."

As well as avoiding walking near or entering water if you've been drinking, Mr Hickins asks people to look out for friends to ensure they get home safely.

Meanwhile, Sgt Nick Evans, from Avon and Somerset Police underwater search and rescue team, is urging people to check on their mates over the festive season.

He said: "We want everyone to enjoy themselves safely this Christmas.

"We know that sometimes on nights out people might not want the pressure from their friends to carry on drinking, or to stay out later, so they will just leave without saying goodbye.

"But everyone is more vulnerable when they’re alone, especially near water. This is why we’re encouraging people to look out for their friends on nights out, and make sure they get home."

He advises people to book a taxi or walk home via a well-lit route that isn't near water and never to enter water after drinking.