Cambridgeshire church packed and loud speakers relay service for funeral of brothers who drowned in lake

A CAMBRIDGESHIRE church was packed today for the funeral of brothers Ashley and Luke Yardy, who died in a tragic accident in a lake at Kingfisher Bridge Nature Reserve.

Loud speakers relayed the service to those gathered outside St James’ Church, Stretham, who could not fit into the church.

Books of condolence were available in the church for people to sign and donations were taken for the Luke and Ashley Yardy Memorial Fund.

The committal followed at Stretham Cemetery where the coffins were laid side by side in a single grave.

The mourners were led by their parents, Amanda and Andrew Fountain and David Yardy.

The service was conducted by Revd Alan Hulme, Rector of the Ely Team Ministry.

He said that the service was a time of sadness when family, friends and community had gathered to say good bye to two young men whose lives were tragically cut short; but also a time to celebrate their lives and give thanks for the memories each one had of Ashley and Luke.

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He also spoke of the fragility of life on this earth and encouraged people to reach out to God for the comfort he wanted to bring them at this time: “A normal day – turned so quickly into one of tragedy. At such times the very fragile and temporary nature of this life is made so painfully clear to us, and we can begin to wonder where we can place our hope and our trust.”

He added: “I’m sure that as a family and friends you will be comforting and helping each other over the coming weeks and months - just as you have been these last days - and that’s important. But remember also that the God who made you....- who knows you better than you even know yourself.... [who] cares and offers you his hope for all eternity.”

Family and friends have spoken fondly of two “caring and lovely lads”.

Trainee gamekeeper Luke Yardy was out on the water at the Kingfishers Bridge Project, near Wicken, when he got into difficulties and fell into the water.

It is believed the 17-year-old had been trying to check on some injured geese when he lost an oar and fell into the water attempting to retrieve it. His brother, 22-year-old Ashley Yardy, immediately ran to his aid and dived into the water to help him get back to the shore.

The pair quickly got into trouble amid the reeds and mud of the lake however, and Luke’s father Andrew Fountain, who was standing on the riverbank, contacted emergency services.

Dive teams from Spartan Search and Rescue found the body of 17-year-old Luke, about 24 hours after the teams discovered the body of Ashley, who has a baby son.

Dave Yardy, Ashley’s father, said: “They were very close as brothers and spent a lot of time together.”

Ashley’s grandfather Ron Yardy, 82, who lives in Stretham, said: “Luke was a very caring lad, that’s why he enjoyed doing his job being a gamekeeper.

“He saw three geese and was trying to check if they were injured or dead when he fell in.”

Ashley’s uncle Terry Yardy added: “They are both good lads. It is a terrible thing to happen.”

Ashley had been due to perform a stand-up comedy routine at the Residence Lounge in Great Yarmouth on September 30.

A memorial page on the social networking site Facebook has attracted hundreds of tributes for the two brothers, who were from Stretham, and a memorial left outside St James’ Church in the village was laden with cards and flowers.

Aaron Peart wrote: “Me and Ash have had some great times together that I will cherish for the rest of my life. I am glad to have met two lovely people in my life, you will be greatly missed.”

Dan John added: “Two lads whose hearts were always in the right place and two brothers who cared so much about each other.”

Inspector Terry Furlong of Cambridgeshire police, said: “Investigations will continue into the circumstances of this tragedy.”

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