Family tribute to Alex Chappell over River Medway death

Alex Chappell
Image caption Alex Chappell was said to have a passion for making things

The parents of a boy who fell into Kent's River Medway and drowned have spoken of their loss.

Alex Chappell, 12, who was not a strong swimmer, got into difficulties after playing on a rope swing over the water at a park in Tovil, near Maidstone.

The youngster's body was pulled from the water by fire crews on 30 May but paramedics were unable to revive him.

His parents Gina Tweddell and Adam Ottaway said: "Words can't explain the emotion and loss we feel."

'In our hearts'

In a statement, they continued: "We will always remember the joy, the fun, the cheekiness and the stubbornness you gave us.

"You always knew how to keep us on our toes in times of laughter and sorrow. We have too many memories to choose from or to write down, yet all of them were special.

"Who can forget the love and kindness you gave.

"We are proud to have you as a son and we will always love you. Words can't explain the emotion and loss we feel.

"Stay safe our brave boy, we will be with you very soon. You will always be in our hearts and our hearts will always be with you."

Alex was said to have a passion for woodworking and making things and had been working on stripping a BMX with his grandfather Paul Ottaway before he died.

Other members of his family described him as a keen competitor and someone with a great sense of fun.

Resuscitation attempts

Image caption Alex Chappell had been playing on a rope swing over the River Medway at a park in Tovil

Police, fire and ambulance teams were called to the River Medway after the boy fell into the river at about 1430 BST on 30 May.

A passer-by had dived in to help but was unable to find him in the deep water.

Two water safety unit boat teams from Kent Fire and Rescue Service searched the water and a police helicopter was also sent.

Fire teams found the child's body at about 1615 BST but paramedics were unable to revive him.

Further resuscitation attempts were carried out at Maidstone Hospital, but Alex was confirmed dead at 1728 BST.

Kent Police said the post-mortem examination results showed the cause of death was drowning and an inquest had been opened and adjourned.

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