London

Thames Woolwich Ferry suspended for Ben Woollacott funeral

Ben Woollacott
Image caption Ben Woollacott fell from the boat while mooring ropes were being untied

Services on the Woolwich ferry have been suspended to allow staff to attend the funeral of a teenage colleague who died after falling off a boat.

Ben Woollacott, 19, died after falling off a ferry on 3 August and is thought to have been hit by the propellers.

The free two-boat service between Woolwich and North Woolwich will resume from 06:10 BST on Tuesday.

Sightseeing river tours by Thames River Services and Crown River Cruises were also suspended for the day.

The funeral of the teenager took place at All Hallows Church near the Tower of London.

The family of Mr Woollacott, of Swanley, Kent, had worked as Thames boatmen for five generations.

It is believed he fell while mooring ropes were being untied, London Coastguard said.

Andrew White, chief executive for Serco's Marine business - which runs the ferry service, described the fatal incident as a "tragic accident".

"Ben was a valued colleague and friend and, having completed his apprenticeship at the Woolwich Ferry, was looking forward to continuing the family tradition of working on the River Thames.

"His presence at Woolwich Ferry will be missed by all, not only because of his natural ability but also his colourful and friendly nature."

James Buckingham, an apprentice, who was a close friend of Mr Woollacott, said: "He loved a laugh and a joke with everyone.

"If you went to work down in the dumps you could guarantee after working with him you would go home with a smile on your face."

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