FRIENDS and family gathered by the River Tyne on what would have been a teenager's 14th birthday.

Robert Hattersley, of Crawcrook, died after coming into difficulty in the river near Ovingham during the UK heatwave.

Emergency services were deployed to the area and a large-scale search was carried out by police, Tyne & Wear Fire & Rescue Service, Northumberland Fire & Rescue Service, HM Coastguard and mountain rescue crews.


Robert's body was later found in the water and he was pronounced dead at the scene.

The former Thorp Academy Year 9 pupil's loved ones held a memorial to mark the teen's birthday, laying flowers and a piece of cake. Balloons were also released.

"They (Robert's sisters) had things planned to do with him so they didn't want to not do something," Robert's uncle Darren Dominy told ITV News Tyne Tees.

"They wanted to carry on that tradition. They wanted to celebrate his life as much as anything else."

Robert's other uncle Terry Dominy also told ITV News Tyne Tees he was "loved by everyone" as the pair called for signs promoting river safety.

In the aftermath of the teen's death, thousands of pounds have been raised to help support his grieving family and give him the "best send off" possible.

A charity fun day and memorial bench for Crawcrook Park are also planned, while his Ryton-based school started an online book of condolence, amassing hundreds of signatures.

A number of floral tributes and heartbreaking notes were also left at the scene at the time.

Robert's family described the schoolboy as "kind and loving" in a tribute.

They said: "It is impossible to put into words the heartbreak we are feeling Robert was so kind and loving. We are absolutely devastated by what has happened.

"He brought a smile to so many people's faces and he will be missed by absolutely everyone who knew and loved him.

"We'd like to thank all the emergency services who worked so hard to try to find Robert, as well as everyone who has been in touch passing on their messages of condolence."