Family’s tribute to Stretham brothers

THE family of Stretham brothers Ashley and Luke Yardy, who died in a tragic boating accident in September, say they have been “overwhelmed” by the generosity and support from the community.

Speaking for the first time since their funeral, mum Amanda Fountain and family members said they were filled with pride at how “well thought of” the duo were and thanked residents for their fundraising efforts.

“As a family we have been overwhelmed by the generosity of the community in respect of the memorial fund that was set up by the boys’ great friend, Luke Rhenius,” the family said in a statement.

“Thank you seems such a small thing to say to everyone but words cannot express how proud we are that the boys we so well thought of. Ashley and Luke will live on in our memories forever.”

The family revealed that a memorial fund set up in the brothers’ memories’ had raised �1,465, which was to be put towards a pair of memorial benches and two oak trees at Kingfisher Bridge and in Stretham. Mrs Fountain added some of the money would also go towards a trust fund for Ashley’s one-year-old son, Nathan.

Seventeen-year-old Luke was out rowing at the Kingfishers Bridge Project, near Wicken, last month when he fell into the water as he tried to help injured birds in his role as a trainee gamekeeper.

When he saw his brother was in difficulty Ashley, 22, dived in to help but also began to struggle amid the dense mud and reeds of the lake. A frantic rescue operation was launched at the scene but, despite recovering the duo, they could not be saved. The brothers were buried side by side at Stretham Cemetery.

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The family added, “We would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who was involved in the search at Kingfisher Bridge.”

“Special thanks go to Reverend Alan Hulme and Fullers Funeral Directors and to everyone who attended the funeral of the boys and for the cards and flowers received by the family.”