Sussex

Anthony Knott: River-death firefighter 'died a hero'

Anthony Knott Image copyright Family handout
Image caption Anthony Knott was due home in the early hours of 21 December

A firefighter whose body was found in a river three weeks after he vanished during a night out "died a hero", his fiancée told mourners at his funeral.

Anthony Knott, 33, disappeared on 20 December in Lewes and was found on 10 January in the River Ouse at Newhaven.

About 100 firefighters walked in procession to the church in Farnborough where the couple had planned to wed.

Lucy Otto told the service never seeing her fiancé again was "hard to come to terms with".

Mr Knott, who worked for London Fire Brigade, left colleagues at The Lamb pub in Fisher Street during a work night out, for unknown reasons.

His body was found by a member of the public on Denton Island in Newhaven harbour, about eight miles downstream.

Image caption Anthony Knott's London Fire Brigade colleagues lined the path from Orpington to the church

Mr Knott's colleagues formed a procession from Orpington High Street in London to the nearby St Giles the Abbott church.

About 100 firefighters lined the path to the church from Mr Knott's Addlington station, as well as from other areas including Lewisham and Greenwich, according to BBC South East reporter Charlotte Wright.

Miss Otto read a letter out during the service, in which she explained the couple had gone to infant, junior and senior school together, then met again online when they were in their 20s.

She said: "It's hard to come to come to terms I'll never see you again."

Image caption In her tribute, Lucy Otto said "I'll forever talk about you to your children"

Miss Otto, who has four children - including two with Mr Knott - said the children "make me laugh every day and sometimes I turn to laugh with you and you're not there."

She said: "You always said you wanted to die a hero and seeing everyone here today I think you truly have."

Tributes were also read out from his brothers Arran and Jared, while his friend, Robert Utton, and colleague John Scanlon, read poems.

At the scene - Charlotte Wright, BBC South East

The village church was standing room only, packed with Anthony Knott's friends, family, football teammates and former colleagues.

It was a hugely emotional and personal service, with readings and poems from his close family and friends.

In a particularly poignant moment, his fiancée and mother of his two children, Lucy Otto, read out a letter she had written to him.

She talked about how they had planned to get married in the church and of how much she and the children miss him.

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