TRIBUTES have been paid to a pensioner who died after he fell ill while coaching his rowing team.
Bill Grant, from Cleadon, is said to have been on his bike when he lost control and plunged into the freezing River Wear near Kingsgate Bridge in Durham on Saturday morning.
Our thoughts are with his family and friends.Statement from Durham Amateur Rowing Club
Passers-by pulled the 67-year-old from the river and tried to revive him while the emergency services made their way to the river, with police, ambulance service and firefighters involved in attempts to save him.
The Great North Air Ambulance was also called to help.
But despite their efforts, the retired jeweller and oarsman died.
Police have said he suffered from a pre-existing medical condition which may have caused the accident.
Bill, who is dad to Richard, 22, Catherine, 20, and Emma, 19, was a coach at Durham Amateur Rowing Club, where he was the group’s boat warden, an umpire and a member of the British Rowing Rigging Forum.
A statement on the club’s Facebook page says: “We are very sad to confirm that one of our members, Bill Grant, passed away this morning after suffering a suspected medical incident on the river bank whilst coaching.
“We would like to express our gratitude to the club members, members of the public, police, ambulance service and the Great North Air Ambulance who came to his aid.
“Our thoughts are with his family and friends.”
Police have praised those who went to help Bill after he fell into the water at 8.25am on Saturday.
A postmortem examination is due to take place later this week.