Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Questions Remain over Beauty Spot Tragedy

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Questions Remain over Beauty Spot Tragedy

Article excerpt

Byline: Kate Proctor Reporter kate.proctor@ncjmedia.co.uk

HOW a popular young lad came to drown in a Tyneside lake remains a riddle today.

Andrew McWilliams told pals he was going to help a friend swim just hours before his own body was pulled from the water.

But how the 22-year-old ended up drowned at Watergate Park in Gateshead on one of the hottest days of the year remains something of a mystery and has left his close circle of friends wondering what went on.

His death has devastated his mum Helen and pals who last night gathered at the lake's shore to lay flowers and Toon shirts in his honour.

Best friend Yasemin Ayke, 22, who lives in Lobley Hill, said: "I'm devastated to know I was the last friend to see him. I think he was just in the water and he got trapped on something and didn't come back up."

Andrew, who lived at Moorfoot Gardens in Lobley Hill, with him mum was due to start a Diploma in Sport in September at Newcastle College and would keep fit with walks around the lake.

As temperatures soared to 25C on Thursday he was seen to wade into the water. Emergency services were called and after an extensive search he was pulled from the water. He was later pronounced dead at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle.

Yasemin, who saw him most days on their estate or at the Norwood Pub at Cotswold Gardens, said: "He went up to the lake all the time but he's never mentioned going in the water before or anything like that but when I saw him on Thursday he told me 'I'm going up the lake to teach a friend how to swim.'.

* "I said the water isn't nice and asked him to stay with me but then he just said 'I'll see you when I'm back from the lake.'"."

As friends gathered in the pub to share memories of Andrew, known as Gadgie, dozens of tributes were left to him.

Friend Jack Wilson took a Newcastle United shirt signed by himself, and friends 'George, Totti, Dean and Charla' to lay by the water next to bouquets of flowers.

He said: "He was such a character and so funny. He was very keen on sports and was a canny lad. I just can't believe it's happened. He would just come up here all the time or you'd see him out and about running. …

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