£5,000 raised in memory of loving son whose body was found in River Wear

Ross Irwin, 22, whose body was found in the River Wear on December 24, 2016.

Ross Irwin, 22, whose body was found in the River Wear on December 24, 2016.

More than £5,000 has now been raised by well-wishers in memory of a popular young Wearside man who died in a river tragedy.

The body of 22-year-old Ross Irwin was found in the River Wear at Fatfield, Washington, on Christmas Eve.

Ross Irwin with his brother Jack.

Ross Irwin with his brother Jack.

Ross, who worked at the Child Benefit Centre in Waterview Park in Washington, had been on a night out the previous evening and his devastated family believe he fell into the water.

Scores of messages of support have come in for Ross, who had cerebral palsy from a young age.

A fund set up on the Just Giving website to help his dad Dave and mum Debbie Herkes, 52, has now reached more than £5,000 in the fortnight since he passed away.

“It’s unbelievable,” said Dave, 43, of Oxclose in Washington.

“We’re all really shocked at how well it has gone.

“Never did I think it would bring in as much money as it has.

“It just shows what a ‘one in a million’ type of person he was.

“Ross had different groups of friends such as those he went to school or college with or people he liked the same music as and this was set up by one of his music friends.”

Ross had been due to spend Christmas Eve with Debbie at their home in Fence Houses before going to see Dave, his wife Nicola, 34, and their son Jack, 12, on Christmas Day.

“Ross’s mam is finding it very hard because even though they were mother and son they were like best friends too,” said Dave, who is a training officer at Tyne and Fire and Rescue Service’s training centre in Barmston, Washington.

As well as having being given recent good news that he was to be given a permanent contract at his workplace, Ross was also due to go to Tenerife and America this year with his dad, Nicola and Jack.

Despite being diagnosed with cerebral palsy at two meant he walked with a waddle, former Houghton Kepier and Usworth Sixth Form pupil Ross never let the condition affect him and despite having operations when he was younger, he often joked about having the illness.

Police confirmed that the body of a 22-year-old man had been recovered from the River Wear, near to Fatfield Bridge, shortly after 9am on Saturday, December 24.

They added that there is no suspected third party involvement and a report is being prepared for the coroner.

Ross’s funeral is due to take place at Durham Crematorium at 1.30pm on Monday.

Mourners are being asked to wear some form of tie dye clothing, which Ross liked.

To donate to the appeal in Ross’s memory go to www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/RossIrwin.