RELATIVES of eight year old Matthew Cartwright who died after falling into a South Yorkshire canal today spoke of their grief.
Matthew of Windhill Terrace, Mexborough, died on Tuesday after falling into the South Yorkshire Navigation Canal at Swinton on Monday.
In a statement, his family said: “We are devastated at the death of Matthew, which was a tragic accident. He was a beautiful, loving little boy and we miss him terribly.”
Meanwhile, staff at the school where Matthew was due to return to lessons on Monday, are preparing to try to help his classmates cope with the loss of their pal.
Jenette Guy, headteacher at Windhill Primary Road, on Hollingworth Close, Mexborough, paid tribute to a popular pupil.
She said: “Matthew was a very popular boy with many friends and will be sadly missed by everyone in our school community.
“He loved football, singing and was a star performer in our school productions. Our deepest sympathy goes out to his family and friends.”
Staff returned to the school on Thursday for a training day and were told the tragic news.
Now they are looking at how to help pupils and parents cope with the tragedy on Monday.
Three councillors will be coming into the school for pupils, staff or parents to talk to if they feel the need to do so.
Matthew’s teachers from the previous school year be getting together with the youngsters who were in his class to comfort them.
Pupils and staff will also be asked what measures they would like to take to remember Matthew and celebrate his life.
Suggestions have included a book, bench or tree.
Emergency services were called to the canal off Talbot Street, Swinton on Monday, after Matthew fell into the water.
After he was pulled from the canal he was flown to Rotherham District General Hospital by the police helicopter.
He was later transferred to the Children’s Hospital in Sheffield, where he died on Tuesday, with his family by his side.
A post mortem will be carried out to establish the exact cause of death. Police do not believe there are any suspicious circumstances concerning the incident, which a spokesman said appeared to be a tragic accident.