Devastated Eileen calls for action after dog dies following plunge into ‘hidden drop’ at ‘Winter Gardens’ slipway

Eddie sadly lost his life

A devastated dog owner says her pet has died after plunging into a ‘hidden drop’ under a deceptively shallow-looking water area at the slipway behind the Winter Gardens in Margate.

Eileen McGrath, 63, was walking dog Eddie along the beach at about 8am last Thursday (June 25) when he went into water at the bottom of the beach slipway, but then got into trouble.

Eileen, who got Eddie from a rescue centre more than six years ago, said: “He ran into the water and as he started coming towards me he then began struggling. The next minute he went under.

“I went in but then got stuck and had to get my Crocs off and go back in. I lifted him up and tried to get the water out of him.

“I managed to get him standing up but he was shaking. I got him to the prom and got my car and took him to the vets.”

Eddie had swallowed a lot of sea water, had hypothermia and his heart was racing. He was taken to a veterinary hospital in Canterbury and kept in overnight.

Sadly the experience proved too much for Eddie and the water he had ingested resulted in kidney failure.

Eileen, who says Eddie helped her with anxiety, said: “He couldn’t cope. I am so upset. I can’t believe my beautiful boy has gone.
“I rescued him and tried my hardest to help him. The PDSA/hospital did their best to help and support him. His body could not cope and was unable to recover from the trauma.

“Eddie was my best friend, he came into my life six and a half years ago. He was a treasured companion, we had lots of fun together. Everyone who met my Eddie adored him.

“He made my life worth living, he got me through tough times. He enabled me to make lots of new friends, he was always by my side.

“We loved each other very much, I don’t know how I’ll survive without him, my heart is truly broken.”

Earlier this month Margate mum Jade Williams had to rescue her son Jay’me, two, after he was playing at the edge of ‘the puddle’ and suddenly disappeared.

The frantic mum-of-two had to pull the toddler from the water. This was at the same spot where Eddie went under.

Eileen says she would like to see signs highlighting the danger or even be closed off.

She said: “There was a sign but it was the size of a postcard and if you come from the Walpole Bay direction you wouldn’t see it anyway. They should fill it in or put boulders there and bigger signs. It looks like a shallow pool but it is not. I am very concerned that next time it could be a small child. Something needs to be done.”

Thanet council has been asked for comment.


  1. Sorry to hear…buuut it’s no one else’s fault.. Everyone must take responsibility for their own actions. The sea and sand are constantly in motion. It may absolve your guilt to blame others but so many people walk their dogs off the lead and then pay little attention to what they are doing our indeed where they are defacating. I have three dogs.

  2. Sorry to hear this. I might be wrong but didn’t this site have a similar article a couple of weeks ago about a child falling into the same hole ?

    • Concerned the report mentioned that in blue letters, and the child also fell into the whole twice the similar thing has happened a child and a dog and no notice warning signs around what will it take to have a notice put there death of a child or a adult and don’t give me the old line should have held their hands or had dog on a lead what if it was the adult who fell seriously injured their self or at worst died in the case of the child what would happen with the little who would help them would they know what to do KNOW THEY WOULDN’T. Not everyone knows about holes occurring at the bottom of slipways. I didn’t until the child fell in one if anything good comes out of Eddie the dog dying there is a notice posted which will inform people of the possibility of hidden holes at the bottom of the slipway.

      • Well said Chris,,that poor lady will be utterly heart broken, her dog was her life and she risked hers to get him out , x x god bless them both and I pray she gets lots of support with her loss.

  3. Council would do best to put a danger sign up before kids and pets die the council are now aware take action

  4. I am so sorry for your loss. Bunch of heartless people on this feed. Dogs are allowed on the beach behind the Winter Gardens and the slipways are dangerous! I went right under stepping off the ramp behind the Turner thinking it was shallow so they should be clearly marked because this has resulted in the loss of a beloved pets life and almost a took a child’s life!

  5. Aww how sad 🙁 poor dog and poor lady! That is so dangerous there, it should have warning signs at the very least. It certainly wasn’t the owners fault and so sorry for her loss. Thanks for highlighting this as next time it could easily be a child. R.i.p Eddie xx

  6. So very sad that this dear dog has died in this dangerous part of the beach accesible to the public. That a little boy did not die there a couple of weeks earlier is a miracle. How long does it take to put up a big warning sign or close it off?? I fel so sorry of the poor lady to have lost her beloved dog in such an awful way x

    • There are many places along the local beaches where sometimes there’s a shallow patch of water and sometimes a deeper one. The bottom of a ramp/slipway is one such place.

      Entrances to the beach should not be closed off. Rather, clear signs should be placed at the top of all entrances advising beach users not only about potential risks but of what’s allowed and not allowed on the beach-including times and dates of temporary bans.

  7. I’m so glad Kathy wrote about this. Eileen messaged me her sad news and asked for our MP contact details.
    Apparently many years back, the council would move the sand every so often to fill the hole ( cause by the tide and currents) so it’s been known as a problem spot for a long time.
    No idea when they stopped doing it but maybe they should consider sending the men out again to do that. Eileen walked that bit of beach with Eddie most days bit was still unaware of the danger. That area has loads of visitors so it’s another accident waiting to happen.

  8. K9 and wilf, what vile things to say to someone!!! U ever heard of “if u got nothing to say then don’t say it”??? The lady’s grieving and k9 as a dog owner u should at least be grateful to her making people aware…. what horrible little bullies u r….. rip eddie

  9. Water in general and the sea in particular are dangerous. Living at the seaside as we do, we ought to be aware of those dangers.
    I would say that no amount of signs would make any difference. The tragic death of a young child at the very same spot was widely reported.
    As to filling holes in: every time there’s as storm, there’s a new hole somewhere else along the beach. At Ramsgate, the waves carve a 1 metre step in the sand: if you didn’t know about it and went paddling, you’d be in for a shock. But it would be absurd to suggest that TDC should get the bulldozers out and resculpture the beach every time there’s a gale.
    The sea is dangerous. If you, or the person or dog you’re responsible for is not a confident and capable swimmer, then stay away from the water.

  10. A slipway is designed to launch and recover boats as such there needs to be deeper water , tides and weather change the nature of the seafront continually, amazingly the water will deeper at high tide than it will be at low , when did we wander into a world where every accident had to be someones fault and need money spent explaining the patently obvious. It should never be assumed that any body of water is perfectly safe, its an inherently dangerous environment. Accidents happen its a sad reality of life.

  11. None of the slipways are safe, this happened to me, luckily my dog didnt follow me, I ended up in water up to my waist and struggled to get out, it was really frightening, I avoid them now after storms and this was at westbrook beach back in january, so sorry for your loss

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