THE loved ones of a teenager who drowned in a tragic accident have been honoured for their work supporting lifeboat volunteers who battled in vain to save him.
Southmoor School pupil Mark Langton was swept to his death by a 15ft wave five years ago yesterday, as he played with pals on a slipway at Hendon Promenade on the first day of the Easter holidays.
Since his death, friends and family have raised thousands of pounds for the RNLI, which battled to rescue the 13-year-old.
Now the charity has created a special plaque, which will be displayed at its station on Wearside, to pay tribute to their hard work and dedication as well as remember the “popular lad.”
It will stand as a reminder to Wearside youngsters to stay safe along the coast over the holidays.
Paul Nicholson, senior helmsman at Sunderland RNLI, said: “The plaque is going to hang next to another one dedicated to Jonathan Bernardi, another teenager who was swept in to the sea at Sunderland.
“He was also a Southmoor School pupil and the two incidents were almost 10 years apart.”
Fund-raiser Margaret Moan, a friend of Mark’s family, said the plaque was a wonderful gesture. “Mark was such a lovely lad,” said the 66-year-old, from Hendon.
“He just lived round the corner from me.
She added: “He would have done anything for anybody.”
The group’s latest fund-raising drive has involved a sponsored travelling teddy bear, Marky Boy, which has now visited countries around the world.
“It has been a big success,” said Margaret. “People make a donation and raise sponsorship money for the charity, and since we started last year the bear has been around the world.
“The latest cheque was for £800, which we have now handed over to the RNLI.”
She added: “The good people of Hendon who remember Mark still continue to leave their change when buying things in Margaret’s Shop, a local business which has been holding an on-going collection,” said Margaret.
“Anybody who would like to take the teddy on their travels this summer can leave their details at the shop, and help us raise money for this amazing charity.”