Friends' effort to prevent river death tragedy

The Northern Echo: Steve Owers and Pete Bell from the Teesdale and Weardale Search and Rescue Team accept a cheque for money raised in Luke Pearce's memory from Eleanor Harby and  Serge Chapman Steve Owers and Pete Bell from the Teesdale and Weardale Search and Rescue Team accept a cheque for money raised in Luke Pearce's memory from Eleanor Harby and Serge Chapman

FRIENDS of a student whose body was found in the River Wear are working on a video they hope will prevent the tragedy being repeated.

Luke Pearce, an engineering student at Durham University, disappeared after a night out drinking with friends in early May.

The body of the rugby-loving 19-year-old, who was from Hounslow, west London, was found in the River Wear a week later.

Now friends of Mr Pearce are working on a video to promote river safety and safe drinking.

The film will be promoted to students starting at Durham University, in the hope of preventing another tragedy.

Meanwhile, friends and relatives of Mr Pearce have donated £1,500 to the Teesdale and Weardale Search and Rescue Team (TWSRT) in his memory.

Staff and students at the University’s St Cuthbert’s Society, of which Mr Pearce was part, raised £800 through a football match, a memorial service, a balloon release and a raffle, while other friends and relatives donated more than £700.

Serge Chapman, president of the society’s Junior Common Room, said: “Our whole community is devastated by the loss of Luke but we’re all exceptionally grateful for the excellent work that the Mountain Rescue Team, who are all volunteers, and the other emergency services have done in searching and recovering Luke.

“We’re working on a video to help highlight river safety and safe drinking for all students coming to the University to ensure something like this doesn’t happen again.”

Steve Owers, deputy leader of the TWSRT, said: “Although this was a tragic incident, it is gratifying to know that Luke’s fellow students, friends and family appreciated the work that we and the other emergency services did.

“The students themselves also gave up their time to assist in the search. In addition over the past few days Luke’s family and friends have donated in excess of £700 to the team, for which we are extremely grateful.”

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