Canal victim’s family release balloons to mark his birthday

Family and friends of Matthew Cartright celebrate his ninth birthday with a balloon release from the canal side in Swinton where he drowned. Picture: Liz Mockler S1038LM
Family and friends of Matthew Cartright celebrate his ninth birthday with a balloon release from the canal side in Swinton where he drowned. Picture: Liz Mockler S1038LM

THE FAMILY of canal drowning victim Matthew Cartwright released balloons at the scene of his death to mark what would have been his 9th birthday.

The youngster fell into the canal near Talbot Road, Swinton, and drowned in August last year.

Relatives of the Mexborough schoolboy released 24 blue and white balloons at the canal side on Wednesday to mark what would have been a day of birthday celebrations.

Matthew’s grandmother Wendy, of Conisbrough, said: “We wanted to do something nice as it would have been his birthday.

“A lot of his school friends came down to watch and they told us stories about Matthew and how he had taught them how to play tiggy.

“We taught him that when he was little so it was nice to see that he had passed it on.

“Matthew’s still very much in our thoughts and always will be.”

Each balloon was fitted with a numbered tag which read ‘In Loving Memory of Matthew Cartwright’ along with contact details for the family.

The person who finds the balloon which travelled the furthest will receive a £10 supermarket gift voucher.

Matthew fell into the canal while out picking blackberries.

A passer-by jumped into the cold water but was unable to save him.

Paramedics eventually got him out and he died in hospital the next day from the effects of drowning.

More than 1000 people have signed a petition calling for better safety measures along the waterway where he died.

British Waterways have since planted more vegetation along the canal bank to block access to the water’s edge.

Matthew’s family hope to plant a weeping willow tree at the site along with a plaque as a lasting tribute.