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Family and friends celebrate Charlie’s life

Charlie Pope is far right in this family picture, which also includes his dad Nick, mum Andria, older brother Joe and younger sister Daisy.
Charlie Pope is far right in this family picture, which also includes his dad Nick, mum Andria, older brother Joe and younger sister Daisy.

More than 100 people attended a service to say goodbye to teenager Charlie Pope last Thursday.

The body of the 19-year-old, from Ponteland, was found in the Rochdale Canal in Manchester city centre earlier this month. He was a student at Manchester University.

As Charlie loved Coldplay and one of the band’s big hits is the song Yellow, family and friends donned yellow ties and scarves instead of the traditional black to celebrate his life at the service in English Martyrs Church on Stamfordham Road, Newcastle.

A private burial ceremony followed and while this was happening, a group of friends who attended the church service released dozens of yellow balloons in his memory.

A reception later took place in Ponteland.

Charlie left Ponteland High School in 2017 after securing grade As in economics, psychology and sociology A-Level courses.

His dad Nick said: “There was a book of condolences at the reception, which took place at the Diamond Inn, and it was incredible to see what people had written about him.

“The messages included how much he meant to the people who knew him well and how keen he was to help others.

“Charlie had told us how much he was enjoying university and he threw himself into that life.”

Mr Pope has taken an active role in campaigning for measures to be put in place to improve safety at the canals in Manchester city centre – with the family backing the social media hashtag #makecharliethelast – and he has discovered that dozens of people have died in them over the years.

He was due to meet Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, yesterday and he has asked Manchester Coroners Office for the specific number of deaths where people have fallen into the Rochdale Canal.

“We’ve found out that there are many Manchester residents who are concerned about the situation with the canals and one of them, Alona Ainsworth, started a petition that has received more than 47,000 signatures so far,” he said.

“I’ve talked with members of the Manchester Water Safety Partnership, which is made up of representatives from various bodies, and have asked for the minutes of its future meetings.

“Permanent measures need to be put in place as soon as possible. As far as I’m concerned, the canal locks can be made both functional and safe.”

To read more about the petition, visit www.change.org/p/andy-burnham-the-bridgewater-canal-company-ltd-canal-and-river-trust-peel-group-put-barriers-up-on-the-manchester-canals/u/22515487