DETERMINED friends of teenager Kyrece Francis, who lost his life on the River Thames in Marlow last week, have rallied round to raise over £7000 for a fund in his memory to help prevent future tragedies on the water.
Friends who were with Kyrece when he got into difficulties while swimming in the river last Tuesday are vowing to pay for lifesaving equipment near the spot where he tragically died.
The proactive teenagers smashed their £2000 target in just days, and have pulled in more than three times that figure since launching the campaign late last week.
And alongside his friends' pledge to help save lives, Buckinghamshire Coroner Richard Hulett issued a strong warning this week to other would-be river swimmers at the opening of the inquest into the teenager's death.
Floral tributes continue to pour in at Great Marlow School, where Kyrece was a pupil, as his grieving schoolmates try to come to terms with the 13-year-old’s death just days after the school holidays began.
Kyrece's mother Simone Francis this week praised his friends for their continued support.
The determined youngsters have been flooded with messages of support for their fundraising efforts alongside donations to provide life jackets, buoys and awareness signs along the Thames Path.
And a huge turnout is expected at a firefighters’ charity car wash tomorrow, organised by his former Downley Dynamos football coach to add to Kyrece’s Legacy fund.
Rachel Rowley, who is helping to coordinate the fundraising effort, said: "It's been crazy the number of people offering to help. Amazingly, the kids have been incredibly positive in facing this and focusing on the tragedy from a different angle.
"It’s gone much further than we could have expected and the kids are being so proactive about it. We just want to save further lives from being at risk. We've already had an offer to install warning signs for free so that's great news.
"We heard four teenagers including Kyrece died (in the UK) in a matter of days from swimming and possibly not knowing the dangers.
"The river looks so calm but you just don’t know what’s going on underneath and the risks involved."