Tributes have been paid to a popular teenage boy who became the year’s first victim of the Spring heatwave when he drowned in a river over the weekend.
Richard Fellows, 15, was pulled from the waters two hours after he failed to resurface when he got into difficulties while swimming with pals on Sunday.
Emergency services rushed to Arrow Valley Country Park in Redditch, Worcs., at around 12.20pm after reports three youngsters had got into difficulties while cooling off in the River Arrow.
A combined response unit of police, fire and ambulance services, including specialist diving teams attended and rescued two of the boys from the 900-acre beauty spot.
But tragically, two hours later Richard was pulled from the river at around 2.35pm and died soon after arriving at Alexandra Hospital.
Heartfelt tributes began pouring in to the schoolboy, from Brockhill, Worcs.,who was affectionately known as ‘Porky’.
Posting on a Facebook tribute page RIP Richard James Fellows, friend Keeley Smith wrote: “Porky please come back- nobody is accepting the fact that youre gone.
“We all expect yu to be in the bus st when we walk to school each morning, just please come back.”
Charlotte Bradbury said: “U were taken too soon ,but they say the good one’s always go first , keep smiling dwn on us and rest in the arms of the angels.”
Pal Ian Watts added: “I hope his family see how much he was loved and liked. He was a funny lad….to Richard’s family. Be strong, do what he would have wanted, it is all about him at this moment. Take Care be strong.”
Clare Clissett wrote: “Richard I keep looking at my phone waiting for a message or a call off you !! I love you with all my heart ! I need my best friend back.”
And Charlie Rogers said: “Can’t believe you have been taken darling! Still can’t get my head around it .. Don’t ever change your cheekiness because your up there, going to miss all the banter we always had! Stay safe! Speak again soon! xxxxx”
A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman confirmed Richard was brought ashore where medics started resuscitation and advance life support before transferring him to hospital.
He said: “Two teenage boys were recovered from the water and treated for minor injuries by ambulance staff.
“They were later discharged to the care of parents at the scene.
“The specialist HART team were in wet suits and joined other emergency services in a search of the water for nearly two hours.
“A third teenager was eventually located and brought to safety where medics commenced immediate resuscitation and advance life support.
“The patient was taken by ambulance to Alexandra Hospital in Redditch.
“The hospital was alerted to the serious condition of the patient. A MERIT doctor travelled to the hospital with the patient and Crew.
“It is understood that the patient was later confirmed deceased at the hospital.”
Superintendent Kevin Purcell, from West Mercia Police, added: “Our thoughts are with Richard’s family after this tragic incident and we pass on their request to respect the family’s privacy at this time.
“We are continuing to investigate the incident and a report is being prepared for the Worcestershire coroner.”
* Many areas of Britain basked in temperatures topping 19C yesterday afternoon and the hottest recorded being 19.3C (66F) in London’s St James’s Park.