Funeral is held for Whitby sea death boy

James Willis
Image caption James' mother Paula described him as "popular" and "lovely"

The funeral for a 17-year-old boy who died trying to save a teenage girl in the sea off the coast at Whitby has taken place.

James Willis, originally from Stockton, died when he was swept out to sea on 25 August.

He and two other girls who got into difficulties were patients at St Nicholas Hospital in Gosforth, and were on a seaside trip.

His funeral was held at the River of Life Church in Stockton on Friday.

The service, for friends and family, was followed by a cremation at Teesside Crematorium.

Paula Willis, James's mother, has said she was "devastated" by the tragedy.

"James was a lovely, popular boy and will be sorely missed by all his family and friends.

"I am completely devastated by this tragic accident and I am trying to come to terms with his loss, " she said in a statement.

Supervised trip

An inquest into the death was opened and adjourned in Scarborough on 27 August.

The hospital where the teenager was a patient is a medium secure psychiatric forensic unit for youths.

The unit cares for 14 to 17 year olds who have either come into contact with the law as a result of their mental health issues or are a risk to themselves or others.

Dr Suresh Joseph, medical director for Northumberland, Tyne and Wear Mental Health Trust, said there had been four members of staff supervising the three teenagers on the trip.

RNLI members, who tried to save James, thought he had managed to pull himself to safety using a ladder on the pier wall, but he had returned to the water to help his companion.

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