Stoke & Staffordshire

Vigil for Stoke-on-Trent lake death victim Ryan Evans

Tributes left at scene
Image caption Balloons, flowers and cards were left at the scene

Hundreds of people have attended a vigil to remember a "bright, brave, young man" who died after he went missing while swimming in a lake.

Ryan Evans, 13, was spotted "in distress" on Monday with two friends at Westport Lake in Stoke-on-Trent.

The Haywood Academy pupil's body was recovered on Wednesday.

Speaking for his family at Saturday night's vigil, Ch Insp John Owen said it was "poignant" how the community had pulled together since Ryan's death.

A book of condolence was opened and floral tributes, as well as balloons were laid at the scene.

More than £16,000 has been donated towards his funeral costs.

Image copyright Staffordshire Police
Image caption Ryan Evans was found by police divers after a three-day search

Carl Wood, executive principal of Haywood Academy, said Ryan was a "bright, intelligent, hard-working, brave, young man, who loved sport.

"He was well-liked by his peer group and his friends, he was very popular."

Miss Dolbert, Ryan's maths teacher, said "he always had a joke up his sleeve."

Image caption Hundreds of people attended the vigil at Westport Lake

Ch Insp Owen said of the community spirit: "It is so poignant, it's so true and so needed, this community spirit needs to stay, to create a legacy for Ryan."

In a previous statement, the teenager's family said they have been "overwhelmed" with messages of support, describing him as their "world".

They also urged people to be aware of the risks in swimming outdoors, adding: "We just cannot emphasise enough the dangers of swimming in open water, especially where young children are concerned.

"Our message is simple, please don't do it."

Advice on swimming in open water

Image copyright Getty Images
  • Get to know where you are swimming and check the conditions before going in
  • Make sure you are properly equipped
  • Beware of the cold
  • Make sure someone knows where you have gone and why, and that you have the means to call for help - especially in remote locations
  • Take note of local safety advice and respect the countryside, landowners and other users

Source: National Water Safety Forum

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