TRAGIC teenagers who drowned during the school holidays are being remembered at the start of the academic year.
Tonibeth Purvis, 15, and Chloe Fowler, 14, died after getting into difficulty in the River Wear near Fatfield, Washington, at the start of the school summer holidays in July.
Chloe, of Shiney Row, jumped in to cool off, while Tonibeth, of Barmston, went in to help her when she started struggling.
A huge rescue mission, involving more than 100 emergency service personnel, scoured the fast-flowing river for the teenagers for hours on July 24, before their bodies were later recovered.
Now, school pals and teachers are expected to pay tribute to the popular girls at the start of the new term. Friends said in the past that similar tragedies have been marked with a special assembly, or planting of a tree, and expect to pay similar homage to the teens.
Tonibeth, who lived with her uncle, was due to return to Washington School today. She had attended Oxclose Academy in the past.
A school representative said pupils will be asked what they would like to do in memory of the teenager, who is said to have “died a hero”.
Tonibeth, was described as “fun loving and happy go-lucky and friends said they were devastated by her untimely death.
At her funeral on August 2 at the Holy Trinity Church, Washington, Rev Canon Glover said: “Most of all, Tonibeth loved being with her friends and hanging out with them, and if she wasn’t with them, she loved catching up with them on Facebook, and her iPad was never far from her.”
Chloe, who was one of eight children, also attended Oxclose Academy.
During her funeral at Sunderland Crematorium on August 1, she was described as a mother figure, who “would do anything” for her family.
Numerous Facebook pages, a website and a YouTube page have been set up in memory of the two girls since their deaths, as well as memorial pages on the website Gone Too Soon.
One recent post on the Facebook page R.I.P Toni-beth Purvis & Chloe Fowler, from one of Chloe’s sisters, reads: “You did me so proud, born a fighter died a fighter, I love you loads princess.”