Heartbroken dad of river tragedy death boy Lucas Dobson, 6, invites 'everyone' to bury son on his seventh birthday

THE heartbroken dad of a six-year-boy who died during a family fishing trip has invited "everyone" to come and pay their respects as they bury him on what would have been his seventh birthday.

Lucas Dobson fell into the River Stour in Sandwich, Kent, on August 17.

Dad Nathan Dobson, 35, and pals tried in vain to grab him but he was swept away by a strong current.

His body was found on August 21 following an extensive search and rescue operation involving the emergency services and more than 200 volunteers.

Lucas' dad has now revealed his funeral will take place on September 13 – on what would have been his seventh birthday.

He said: "[The service] is for everyone and anyone that would like to come to pay their last respects to the little boy that brought so many people and so much love together".

Mr Dobson also requested that well-wishers raise money for the awareness campaign to improve river safety, rather than sending flowers.

He added: "I just want to say thank you for everyone's love, kindness and support.

"Just because we are laying him to rest it's not goodbye from us or over in any way.

"You will see all progress and what is put in place for the river and safety awareness for a long time after.

"Thank you from the bottom of mine and Kirsty's hearts we love you all and are so grateful our little boy can make such an impact and difference to the world."

The funeral will take place at 12.30pm at St George's Church, in Deal.

Lucas fell into the River Stour after trying to step from a jetty to a boat.

Mum Kirsty Furze, 31, said Lucas would have been "too scared to try swimming" despite having lessons.

She added: "Lucas will never ever ever be forgotten. I’m so overwhelmed with the support I have and had and so is Lucas' dad".

Experts from the emergency services used specialist equipment in order to find Lucas, including sonar detectors, underwater cameras, divers, dogs and drones.

More than 200 volunteers helped in the hunt with some coming from outside the county to take part in the rescue.

Candlelit vigils were held in several coastal and inland towns and villages, while Twitter users shared images of lit candles under the hashtag #LightUpTheCoastForLucas in solidarity with his family.

The inquest into his death is set to take place on November 12.

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