‘Our little boy, our English rose’: Parents pay tribute to 12-year-old found dead in River Trent

Owen Jenkins.

The parents of a boy who died after going into the River Trent have paid tribute to their ‘amazing son’.

Emergency services were called to a weir near Beeston Marina, close to Beeston Rylands, at around 6pm on Monday night (July 10) after Owen Jenkins, 12, was seen going under the water.

His body was pulled from the river by emergency services teams four hours later.

In a statement, Nicola and Gary Jenkins said: “Our little boy, our English rose, our champion will be missed and never forgotten.

“We wish to thank all of the emergency services, who have been amazing, and all of the people that helped to look for Owen.

“Thank you for your support.”

Owen, from Beeston Rylands, was a member of Nottingham Casuals rugby club.

There have since been calls to make the area around the river safer, with an MP saying a meeting has been set up between local councils.

A crowd gathered at a police cordon during the search to wait for news and offer to help, and hundreds of people have since paid tribute to Owen on social media.

Footage from a drone used during the search shows emergency crews on the water.

Notts actress Vicky McClure tweeted: “Heartbreaking local news tonight. Sending all my love and thoughts to Owen Jenkins’ family and friends. Xxx.”

“Waking up to the heartbreaking news about Owen Jenkins. My thoughts are with the family at this sad time,” said Michelle Palagano.

Neil Tedds tweeted: “My heart goes out to the family and friends of Owen Jenkins.Thinking of you all at this sad time.Xxx.”

And Ellen Ross tweeted to say: “RIP Owen Jenkins. Far, far too young! Heartbreaking!”

An online petition calling for a fence to be put up around around the large weir has already been set up.

Sally Shaw, from Beeston, started the page and said if it meets a target of 1,000 signatures she will approach Broxtowe Borough Council and local MPs.

Drone footage captured fire crews searching the water. Photo: John Richardson.

“I just thought as a parent, and talking to other parents, we feel it should be fenced off to stop it happening again,” she said.

“I do think that part of the river is dangerous as its fast-flowing and the current is strong, there is also a tide so sometimes that part can look low and calm but then it becomes high very quickly.

“A lot of families, and teenagers, hang around down there as there isn’t much else to do round the Rylands. And families and dog walkers use the area to walk.”

A Crowdfunding page has also been set up to raise £2,000 to support Owen Jenkins’ family.

Mandy Smith, who set up the page, wrote: “This young boy was tragically taken from his family. The family are well known in Beeston Rylands having lived there for many years.

“They have over the years contributed to the community in many ways and always been there to give a helping hand. It’s now our time to pull together and help them in this their time of need, to help by raising money towards giving Owen the send off he deserves.”

So far £1,187 has been raised.

John Richardson, 50, of Balmoral Drive, volunteered to help in the search using a drone he owns which streams live video footage to an iPad.

John said he approached a member of the fire service and asked him if he could help.

Photo: John Richardson.

He said: “I went up to the person in charge of the search rescue team and said I’ve got a professional drone. And I asked if it would helped it I used it to help. He said yes.

“I started to fly it and it streams 4k live video to an iPad. When you’re 100-200ft in the air you can see everything: every rock, every weed under the water.

“And he said ‘if you see something really low, hover on that spot so we can search those areas’.

“I was slowly going further down the river. I was searching for an hour-and-a-half – I had three batteries which last half an hour [but] they eventually found him further down the river.”

Mr Richardson said he did not know the Owen or his family but added it is a time of “great sadness” for them.

Last night Notts Police said: “A body has been found in the search for a missing 12-year-old boy at Beeston Marina.

“Fire and Ambulance crews were also on scene and specialist search teams launched a major search operation, but sadly at around 10pm a body was found in the water.

“Our thoughts are with the family during this time.”

And, in an update, the force said: “The 12-year-old boy, who went into the River Trent yesterday (July 12) has been named as Owen Jenkins.

“We were called to reports that a boy had gone into the River Trent off Riverside Road at around 6pm.

“We worked alongside Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Fire and Rescue and East Midland’s Ambulance Service’s Hazardous Area Response Team to launch a major search operation, but sadly at around 10pm a body was found in the water.

“Specialist officers are with his family and our thoughts are with them.”

Owen played rugby for Nottingham Casuals RFC since he was seven, and the club issued a statement on their website offering condolences to the Jenkins family.

The statement read: “It is with profound sadness and regret that we confirm the loss of 12-year-old Owen Jenkins who died at Beeston Weir last night. We cannot express how deep our sorrow is and our thoughts are with Owen’s Family and friends.

Owen Jenkins played for Nottingham Casuals RFC in Beeston.

“Owen has played Rugby for Nottingham Casuals RFC since he was 7 and was loved his team mates and everyone he came into contact with.

“His team mates are in bits this morning. We’ve been in touch with all parents directly affected and also the schools to ensure the boys get all the help they can today.

“We’d like to thank everyone from the club who came down last night as word spread, to help look along the river in the hope there was better news. It was a huge community effort it was moving to see so many from the rugby club there.

“We will be opening the clubhouse at 18:00 tonight (July 11) so his team mates and parents can come together and get some counselling from a club member with experience in grief.

“We’ll then be walking down to the Weir at 18:30 so his team mates can lay some flowers and the club will lay a wreath in his honour.

“Anyone associated with the club or local community is welcome to join us from 18:30 at the clubhouse as we walk down to the Weir to pay our respects.”

Meanwhile Broxtowe MP Anna Soubry tweeted last night to say Owen “lost his life in the Trent trying to help others”.


And Mrs Soubry said an “emergency meeting” had been called “with all [the] relevant authorities”, including Broxtowe Borough Council, to discuss the safety of the Weir.

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