HEARTFELT tributes have been paid to the eight-year-old boy who died after falling into a South Yorkshire canal as locals began to come to terms with the tragedy.
A shrine made up of dozens of floral tributes and cuddly toys is growing on the western bank of the South Yorkshire Navigation canal, near Talbot Road, Swinton, near where Matthew Cartwright fell in on Monday.
Yesterday afternoon, a single ‘I Love You’ balloon was gently blowing in the breeze at the end of a track leading from the road to the canal bank. Beneath it was a mound of flowers and cuddly toys with messages to Matthew Cartwright from his family and friends.
One read “To my little big man” while another said “Some angels are too precious to stay”.
Today worried parents living close by called for extra safety measures to prevent a repeat of the tragedy. Local people said the spot where the boy fell into the water was close to a patch of grass used as a playing field by local children.
Some told The Star the area where the youngster fell in to the water was overgrown by brambles and bushes and there was no access from up or downstream.
One theory among locals is that Matthew and the children he was with may have been trying to reach for ripe blackberries when he slipped and plunged into the murky water.
Mother-of-five Sharon Cupitt, who lives nearby said: “We were away when it happened but I know kids do play there. I always tell mine to keep away form the canal bank.”
Another resident of Talbot Road added: “It’s all overgrown and wants fencing off, definitely.
“I was at home when it happened and I saw the police helicopter land on the playing field but I didn’t see the lad being carried into it.”
A woman walking her dog along the banks added: “We heard someone had fallen but didn’t realise he had died.
“I don’t know what he was doing there - it’s terrible.”