"Brothers funerals take place in Stretham

PUBLISHED: 16:42 21 September 2011 | UPDATED: 16:42 21 September 2011

Ashley and Luke Yardy

Ashley and Luke Yardy

Archant

"A normal day turned so quickly into one of tragedy. At such times the very fragile and temporary nature of this life is made so painfully clear to us and we can begin to wonder where we can place our hope and our trust."

THE funerals of brothers Ashley and Luke Yardy who died in a tragic boating accident at Wicken were held today (Wednesday) at St James’ Church in Stretham. Loud speakers were used to relay the service to those who had gathered outside the village church as so many people attended the ceremony there was not enough room for everyone. The committal followed at Stretham Cemetery where the brothers’ coffins were laid side by side in a single grave. The mourners were led by Ashley and Luke’s parents, Amanda and Andrew Fountain and David Yardy. The service was conducted by the Reve Alan Hulme. He told the mourners; “Two young men have had their lives tragically cut short” but he said it was also a time to “celebrate their lives and gives thanks for the memories each one had of Ashley and Luke”.

He added: “A normal day turned so quickly into one of tragedy. At such times the very fragile and temporary nature of this life is made so painfully clear to us and we can begin to wonder where we can place our hope and our trust.”

“I am sure that as a family and friends you will be comforting and helping each other over the coming weeks and monnts - just as you have been these last days and that’s important.”

Books of condolence were available in the church for people to sign and donations were taken for the Luke and Ashley Yardy Memorial Fund.

Tributes have continued to pour in for Luke, aged 17 and Ashley, 22.

An inquest into their deaths was opened and adjourned at Wisbech on Thursday; the coroner had recorded the cause of death as drowning.

The village has shown its support for Luke and Ashley, by donating cash into collecting buckets in the village shop and other local stores and clubs, to pay for a memorial to the pair.

And so many floral tributes have been left at the church, that they have outgrown the frame set up to hold them.

The owner of Stretham Stores, Patrick Masterson, said: “We collected so much money in a week, that we needed to set up a second bucket to collect it all.

“I think there are plans to erect a bench on the recreation ground in memory of Luke and Ashley; there have been a few suggestions, but I think that is what they are going to settle on.

“Everybody has been putting their change into the bucket; this has been very upsetting for the village and everyone feels for the family.”

On the memorial page on the social networking site Facebook, it says that 75,000 individuals have visited the site. It says there are also collecting buckets at the Red Lion in Stretham, the village take-away, at Littleport Lesiure Centre and Soham Comrades Club.

A young footballer left a message: “I play football for Stretham under 13’s and before our match today at Waterbeach we observed a minutes silence for Luke and Ashley. Everyone did it perfectly, we won 3-1 and we dedicate our win to you... RIP X”

Louise Smith, from Ely District Explorers left a message to say that the scouts were working at Stretham Engine last week “we also took a moment before we started.”

It is believed that trainee game keeper Luke was out on the water at the Kingishers Bridge project near Wicken last Sunday, September 11, when he got into difficulties and fell into the water; and his brother Ashley went to his aid.

A tribute from David Adams on the Facebook web site said: “There’s not much you can say really about this. Just you two were great guys. I Can’t Believe It Really. R.I.P Ashley & Luke xxxx”

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