Kent

Kent family's tribute after River Medway canoe death

Cameron Sandell
Image caption Cameron Sandell was a competent canoeist who had practised the sport for four years

The family of a 14-year-old boy who died in a canoeing accident on the River Medway in Kent have said their loss is "impossible to put into words".

Cameron Sandell was canoeing with a friend at Teston Lock, near Maidstone, on Sunday when his boat capsized.

His friend tried to save him and got him out of the canoe but was unable to pull him out of the water.

His parents, Sue and Peter, and older sister Hannah, thanked those who tried to save his life.

In a statement issued through Kent Police, Mrs Sandell, 45, from Hunton, said: "It's impossible to put into words how much he will be missed.

'Quiet independence'

"I feel I have lost a little bit of me. The house is so empty without him. He was bigger than life and when Cameron was round you would feel his presence."

Cameron was an enthusiastic member of his local Scout group and had a passion for canoeing and water sports.

The family said he was a competent canoeist, who had pursued the sport for four years and gained qualifications.

Mr Sandell, 47, said: "He was my shadow. We used to go hunting and salmon fishing together, which was one of Cameron's passions.

Image caption Cameron died after he got into difficulties at Teston Lock on the River Medway

"Although he was usually a man of few words, he had a quiet independence and had a great ability to make others laugh, with the most fantastic sense of humour."

Cameron, a pupil at Mascalls School in Paddock Wood, hoped to join the Army and become an officer at Sandhurst.

A date for his funeral has not been set but is expected to take place at Yalding Church, which is affiliated with the Scouts.

Mr Sandell said the family was asking for well-wishers to make donations to Yalding Scouts.

He said: "If the money raised helps future generations of Scouts or sends a message to others about the dangers of water, we will know that something good has come from this devastating tragedy."

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