Robert Hattersley: Family pay tribute to teenager who died in river in heatwave

·2-min read
Robert Hattersley (Northumbria Police)
Robert Hattersley (Northumbria Police)

The family of a 13-year-old who died after getting into difficulty while swimming in a river in Northumberland have paid tribute to their “kind and loving” boy.

Emergency services carried out a search operation following reports that Robert Hattersley had gone missing.

He was later pronounced dead after his body was found in the River Tyne near Ovingham at around 4.15pm on Sunday.

In a moving public statement, his family said he will “be missed by absolutely everyone who knew and loved him”.

They said: “It is impossible to put into words the heartbreak we are feeling – Robert was so kind and loving. We are absolutely devastated by what has happened.

“He brought a smile to so many people’s faces and he will be missed by absolutely everyone who knew and loved him.

“We’d like to thank all the emergency services who worked so hard to try to find Robert, as well as everyone who has been in touch passing on their messages of condolence.”

It comes after a 16-year-old and a 50-year-old both died in Yorkshire while swimming during the heatwave in recent weeks.

Health Secretary Steve Barclay has warned of “significant dangers” for people tempted to swim in a river to cool off.

Asked whether people should be going outside and visiting beaches, Mr Barclay told reporters people should use “common sense” and follow the advice of public health experts.

That meant “hydration, covering up, being in the shade, avoiding the times of the day when heat is at its peak”.

He added: “There is a particular message, particularly for teenagers, children, some of those who may be tempted to go for a swim – there’s significant dangers of that, quite often when people go swimming in rivers when we have very hot weather.

“So it’s following common sense steps and keeping an eye on neighbours and those who are vulnerable. And following the guidance that’s been put out by the relevant bodies.”

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