Tributes paid to two boys found dead at foot of cliffs in Teesside

Tributes paid to two boys found dead at foot of cliffs in Teesside

Police confirm teenagers who died at Huntcliff in Saltburn-by-the-Sea were best friends Harry Watson and Alex Yeoman

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This article titled “Tributes paid to two boys found dead at foot of cliffs in Teesside” was written by Helen Pidd North of England editor, for theguardian.com on Sunday 26th March 2017 16.11 UTC

Tributes have been paid to the two 17-year-old boys found dead at the bottom of cliffs in Teesside.

Police confirmed that the teenagers were Harry Watson and Alex Yeoman – best friends, according to the Northern Echo. It is not clear how they fell from the cliffs at Saltburn-by-the-Sea on Friday night but police are not treating the incident as suspicious.

Alex’s family said he was a loving son who would be sadly missed. Alex was a stepson and had four siblings and a further two step-siblings, Cleveland police said. Harry’s family said he would be sadly missed. He had three siblings.

The pair were believed to have been from Loftus and attended Brotton’s Freebrough academy, a specialist engineering college.

“Inquiries are ongoing to establish the circumstances of what happened. However, police are not treating the incident as suspicious at this time,” police said.

Harry’s mother, Tanya Watson, a fitness instructor, posted a tribute on Facebook on Saturday night, saying: “It is with great sadness and sorrow that last night our precious 17-year-old son Harry Watson has passed away.”

She added: “Please understand at this difficult time we don’t have many answers but Harry is one of the gifts in life, always there for everyone and anyone. He will always live in our hearts and we will get through this as the strong family that we are because that’s what Harry would have wanted.”

Harry’s older brother, Scott, posted: “As most of you may have heard my baby brother Harry Watson passed away last night. He was an outstanding young man who had his whole life in front of him and was going to do great things. He made me proud to be his brother and it feels like I’ve lost a limb. I don’t know what we’re supposed to do but I know he wouldn’t want us being sad.

“He was loved by so many people. Sleep tight, little brother, I love you so much and I wish I told you that more. I wish I could have protected you but you were taken too soon.”

Saltburn-by-the-Sea.
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Saltburn-by-the-Sea. Photograph: Ian Forsyth/Getty Images
The two boys were good friends, with Alex posting a picture of the pair together on New Year’s Eve.

Cleveland police were called shortly before 7pm on Friday to a report of a body at Huntcliff. Dominating the coastline a mile to the east of Saltburn, Huntcliff stands 365ft above sea level, one of the highest on England’s east coast.

The cliff face is of regional importance for nesting kittiwakes and other seabirds such as fulmars and cormorants, as well as its house martin colony. Police said they believed the boys were near a sculpture known as the Circle or Charm Bracelet, which represent aspects of local life.

Specialist officers are continuing to support both families. The families have expressed their thanks for the messages of support and condolence that have been sent to them but would like to be left to grieve in peace, the force said. “Floral tributes have been left at the scene for the boys. Police would ask that any other floral tributes are left at the bottom of the steps to Huntcliff.”

A spokesman for Humber Coastguard said teams from Redcar, Skinningrove and Staithes along with a helicopter from its base in East Yorkshire had responded to a police request to attend the incident.

He said the helicopter arrived on the scene at 8pm and winched the two casualties onboard before flying them to James Cook University hospital, in Middlesbrough.

The spokesman said the bodies were found about a mile along Huntcliff. The weather conditions had not hampered the operation and it had been low tide, he said.

Any witnesses who may have been in the area around the time of the incident have been asked to contact DS Paul Hodgson from Cleveland police major crime team on the non-emergency number 101.

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