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Families pay tribute to canoeists who lost their lives at Kempston Weir

Laura Pottinger and Sarah Waller, pictured at The Lane in Bedford
Laura Pottinger (left) and Sarah Waller. Image: Facebook

Two women who died after getting into difficulty in the River Ouse in Kempston have been named as their families pay tribute.

Emergency services were called to the Weir embankment in Water Lane at around 10.50am on 16 April following reports of two capsized canoes.

The bodies of two women were discovered shortly after emergency services arrived.

The victims have today (Tuesday) been named as 56-year-old Sarah Waller (pictured right) of Wendover Drive, Bedford and 52-year-old Laura Pottinger (pictured left), also of Wendover Drive, Bedford.

In a tribute, Sarah’s family said: “We are devastated at the tragic loss of our sister and aunt Sarah. She was much loved by all and had many friends within the Bedfordshire community.

“Sarah’s passion for canoeing was her way of being outside and at one with nature. For this to have taken her and Laura’s lives is beyond anything we can comprehend.

“We would like to thank everyone who has contacted the family, we have been overwhelmed with the amount of kind messages and shared memories – she really did touch a lot of people in her life, and she was sadly taken from us far too soon.”

Also paying tribute, Laura’s family said: “Laura, your passing has left us all completely heartbroken. Everyone who knew you has had their lives enriched by your kindness, intelligence, humour and love. It is going to be very hard to come to terms with you not being here anymore.

“You were a phenomenal mother, wife, daughter, sister, aunty and friend to many, you made the world such a happier and brighter place.

“Your wonderful talent has been taken away from us far too soon, but you have left an extraordinary legacy through your work in the arts. Rest in Peace.”

The file has been passed to the coroner to investigate.

The Bedford Independent will be publishing a tribute to Laura and Sarah in the coming days.



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