MORE than 400 people turned out to say farewell to a teenager who died while swimming at a well-known bathing spot.

There was standing room only inside Woodhouse Close Church, in Bishop Auckland , yesterday, with dozens of friends and neighbours having to stand outside as tributes were paid to 16-year-old Colin Dodds.

As the hearse made its way to the church from his home nearby, about 200 people dressed in black, many carrying flowers, walked behind.

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Two flatbed trucks were filled with floral tributes.

His siblings each left a message on a wreath, which read: 

* “RIP Colin. You were a great brother, gonna miss the way you always made me smile and laugh. Love you loads, Becca x.”

*  “RIP Colin. You will be missed loads. Always in our hearts, Nikkita x.”

* “RIP Colin. I am going to miss you and how you used to come and play with me. Loads of love, Reece x.”

* “RIP Colin. A brother I will never get to know. Lots of Love, Lacie Mae x.”

The Reverend Brenda Jones, who led the service, praised the community for how they had rallied round to support each other, and gave particular mention to Colin’s young friends.

She said: “I opened the church up and many of his friends came and lit candles.

“They were reverent and respectful and should be commended for how they behaved.”

Colin, a student at Bishop Barrington School, was with two friends in the River Wear at The Batts, in Bishop Auckland, when he got into difficulty at about 5.15pm on Saturday, September 8.

A large search and rescue operation, involving the police, fire brigade, divers, mountain rescue volunteers and three helicopters, was launched, but Colin’s body was recovered from the bottom of a deep pool in the river at about 4.20am on Sunday.

Thousands of people have paid tribute to the youngster on Facebook.

Colin’s death is the third tragedy to hit his family.

His brother Ryan died aged 14 in 2009 after being born with a rare bowel condition, and in 1992 the boys’ parents Colin and Wendy lost their six-week-old son, Kenneth, who was born prematurely.

Donations to the Colin Dodds Memorial Fund can be sent to Woodhouse Close Church or Hogans, in Newgate Street, Bishop Auckland.

􀁧 The Northern Echo attended the funeral with the permission of Colin’s family.