15-year-old boy drowns in reservoir


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The Independent Online

The family of a 15-year-old boy who drowned in a reservoir described him as “good natured and fun loving” in a tribute today.

Thomas Barton, from Coppull, Lancashire, got into difficulties at Yarrow Valley Country Park in Chorley yesterday.

In a statement released by Lancashire Police, Thomas' family said: "Thomas was very much loved and will be terribly missed by all of us.

"We are devastated.

"His mother Clare has lost her baby boy and his father Simon has lost his best friend.

"Thomas attended Holy Cross High School in Chorley where he was very popular and had lots of friends - he really valued their friendship.

"At school he enjoyed science and computers; he was so good natured and fun loving.

"He also really enjoyed going remote control racing in Blackpool with his father and brothers where they had lad's days out and he used to love riding motor bikes and helping his dad repair them."

Thomas is survived by his sister Rachel, 19 and brothers Matthew, 24 and Robert, 23, police said.

Earlier, his headteacher at Holy Cross, Wendy White, described the youngster as "full of fun".

"Tom will be a huge loss to his family, friends and the school community of Holy Cross Catholic High School," Ms White said.

"He was a terrifically loyal friend and a very likeable young man who was always ready to help others. He had a heart of gold and was recently part of a group who raised over £200 for local charities.

"He was full of fun and a constant source of trivia and kept his form tutor updated on all the latest happenings in the soap operas.

"Our hearts and prayers go out to Tom's family and friends at this tragic time. Counselling is available to support pupils in school and a prayer service and Mass will be held to mourn his loss and celebrate his life."

Police were called to Birkacre Brow at about 7.40pm yesterday and were supported by Lancashire Fire and Rescue, Northwest Ambulance Service, a mountain rescue team and park rangers.

Four of Thomas's friends were reportedly stranded on a floating jetty but there was no sign of the missing teenager when emergency services arrived.

The water was searched by police divers who found Thomas's body shortly after 11pm.

Detective Inspector Jo Keay said: "Despite the best efforts of all the people involved in the rescue operation, sadly a young boy has lost his life - and it goes to illustrate the dangers of swimming in open water.

"This is an absolutely tragic accident and our thoughts are with Thomas's family at this incredibly sad time."