One year on, France remembers 27 migrants who drowned trying to cross English Channel

Three wreaths of white flowers have been placed into the sea, and three blasts of foghorn have been heard off the French coast of Dunkirk to remember the 27 migrants who tragically drowned trying to cross the English Channel one year ago.

Rescuers and elected officials took part in a ceremony on Thursday afternoon as other demonstrations and tributes were held in Paris and towns across the country.

At least 27 migrants died on 24 November last year after their inflatable boat sunk in the middle of the night, in the English Channel.

The tribute was organised by the local National Sea Rescue Society, the SNSM, alongside the townhall of Grande-Synthe, a town near Dunkirk from where many migrants are based.

"This is a tragedy that we expected, and there will undoubtedly be others," Alain Ledaguenel, SNSM president said.

Mayor of Grande-Synthe Martial Beyaert added, "it is not on the other side of the world, it is here, on our doorstep, in the North Sea".

Other tributes to the victims, aged between 7 and 46, were paid in Dunkirk and Paris.

In an article published by Le Monde, 65 French, British and Belgian humanitarian associations have called for the opening of "safe passage routes" to Great Britain to avoid more deaths.

The tragedy has not deterred migrants from braving the sea from the northern coast of France, with more than 40,000 reaching the English coast since January.

At the same time, French coastguards have said more than 7,000 people have been rescued.