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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Andy Gregory

Solihull: Hundreds attend candlelit vigil for four young boys who died at frozen Babbs Mill Lake

Birmingham Live/screengrab

Hundreds of people have stood together in a silent vigil to honour the four young boys who died after falling through ice into a freezing lake in Solihull.

Brothers Finlay and Samuel Butler and their cousin Thomas Stewart were pulled from the icy water at Babbs Mill Lake and taken to hospital on Sunday night, where eight-year-old Finlay and 11-year-old Thomas were pronounced dead a short time later.

Ten-year-old Jack Johnson also lost his life on Sunday, while Samuel, aged six, died on Wednesday after spending days in a critical condition.

Finlay and Samuel Butler and their cousin Thomas Stewart (West Midlands Police)

Despite the icy conditions, the local community in Kingshurst have rallied to show their support, with paramedics, firefighters and police officers among those who have paid their respects in recent days.

Hundreds of floral tributes, candles, children’s toys and balloons have been left at a makeshift shrine near the lake, adorned with messages of love for the boys and support for their families.

Hundreds of people attend a vigil for the four boys who died in Kingshurst (Birmingham Live/screengrab)

Many turned out to pay their respects at a candlelit vigil on Monday night, and hundreds of people returned for a second vigil as the sun began to set on Saturday.

A local choir could be heard singing Keane’s “Somewhere Only We Know” as mourners arrived near the lake ahead of the start of the vigil, which began at 4pm with hundreds of members of the community breaking into gentle but heartfelt applause in tribute to Jack, Finlay, Samuel and Thomas.

Live footage of the vigil broadcast by Birmingham Live was watched by thousands online. A vast crowd of all ages gathered in respectful silence, with piano music playing and a choir singing a rendition of the song “Silent Night”.

A fundraising effort has also seen well-wishers donate more than £65,000 towards a fund for the families of the four boys, who are being referred to by family members as the “Little Princes”.

Earlier this week, Thomas’s older brother said: “Thomas was such a lively little soul, he had a big heart for such a young kid and he was so beautiful. He loved being outside playing with his mates. I love you Tom, big bro will take care of the family and I will see you soon. Make sure you keep practising on Warzone and get a win, will you?”

He added: “Can’t forget about my dinosaur man Fin, he loved dinosaurs so much and always showing me new things he built on Minecraft and all the new stuff he learnt on it. Gonna miss you, little man.”

Inquests into the deaths of the four boys will be opened on Monday by senior coroner Louise Hunt, according to West Midlands Police.

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