Schoolboy Charlie Dunne killed in 'terrible accident' at beach in north Devon

Robin De Peyer
Died in tragedy: Charlie Dunne: Facebook

A schoolboy has died after a "terrible accident" on holiday in north Devon.

Charlie Dunne, 18, who had recently completed his A-levels, was on a break with his family and friends when tragedy struck last week.

The talented rugby player suffered a "catastrophic injury" to his vertebrae causing spinal injury before going into cardiac arrest.

His parents made the "impossible" decision on July 11 to turn off his life support, with his organs being donated.

Just three days earlier, Mr Dunne had attended a Leavers' Ball to mark the end of his exams and finishing at Aylesbury Grammar School in Buckinghamshire.

The school's headmaster Mark Sturgeon paid tribute to the teenager, who he described as a "lively, inquisitive, friendly and helpful young man".

"Whilst on the beach, Charlie suffered a terrible accident that left him with a catastrophic injury to his vertebrae causing spinal injury and cardiac arrest," Mr Sturgeon said.

"His family took the impossible decision to turn off the life support that had been assisting Charlie since the accident.

"Charlie died on Wednesday evening. Charlie was registered as an organ donor and we know there were three people waiting to receive major organs from him.

"There is some comfort in him living on in others and potentially transforming their lives."

Mr Sturgeon said a Memories of Charlie book has been opened and special assemblies have been held across the school.

"He was always smiling, always happy and was well known across the whole school," he said.

"His impact on Denson House, on the rugby squad and his friends cannot be underestimated and our thoughts and support are with the family and the whole Aylesburian community."

Aylesbury Rugby Club has also paid tribute to Mr Dunne.

"Charlie played through every age group at Aylesbury RFC from U6 all the way through to colts and senior XVs," the club said.

"The loss of Charlie has had a profound effect on everyone that knew him and our thoughts go out to his family and friends at this difficult time.

"Rest in peace, Charlie. You'll be forever missed."