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Weir tragedy father and son mourned

Family and friends have paid tribute to a "really lovely" father and son who died when their rowing boat overturned at a weir on the River Avon.

The father, named locally as Julian Mynott, 42, was enjoying an afternoon row with his three-year-old son Freddie and two other children when tragedy struck.

It is thought their small motorised boat went over a three-metre high weir and capsized in the river close to the family home in Barford, near Warwick.

Both father and son were pronounced dead at the scene after Freddie was pulled from the water at about 8.30pm on Saturday and Mr Mynott was found shortly after 10pm. The two other children are being treated in hospital and one is said to be in a serious but stable condition.

Neighbours and friends spoke warmly of Mr Mynott and his wife Emma, 41, who was not on board the boat, and said they were thinking of them and their two other children, Florence and Archie.

Mr Mynott's sister Stephanie Skudder described him as the "best father, husband, son and brother". She told the Daily Mail: "My sister-in-law is going through hell...it's an absolutely tragedy. Julian loved his kids and he was the best father in the world. He would not have left the river until the found his son."

Polly Bonner-Evans, who lives close to the family, said: "They were just really lovely people. The family were so kind, so nice, pleasant."

She said she was struggling to come to terms with what had happened and she could only imagine what "kind" Mrs Mynott was going through: "I wish we could just scoop them up and wrap them in our arms and do whatever we could. I don't know how as a mother ... I don't know how you cope with that."

Ms Bonner-Evans said she saw firefighters at the scene in floods of tears as they battled tirelessly to save Mr Mynott and the children. A local man jumped in the river to try to help but he had been so traumatised by the incident he did not want to talk publicly about it, she said.

It seems Mr Mynott, an antiques dealer, and the children decided to go out on the river on the warm and sunny afternoon but were perhaps caught out by how high the river was and how fast the current was running. Locals said they appeared to be making their way back home after their trip when the current pulled the boat.

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