Quarry death teen was 'lovely lad'

Malvern Gazette: TRAGIC: Promising footballer Russell O’Neill who died on Saturday. TRAGIC: Promising footballer Russell O’Neill who died on Saturday.

TRIBUTES continue to be paid to a promising young footballer who died while swimming in a flooded quarry.

Seventeen-year-old Russell O’Neill died on Saturday afternoon after failing to resurface while swimming in Gullett Quarry in the Malvern Hills.

The popular teen, from Ronkswood, Worcester, was enjoying the hot weekend weather when the accident happened.

Since his death was confirmed, floral tributes and photos of Russell have been left at the scene. Messages have also been sent to your Worcester NewsFacebook page.

“Tell you what kid you will be missed, top guy,” said Nathan Tyga Minaj Butler. “One great football player.”

Jill Bridger wrote: “This young lad was one of my neighbours. He was a lovely polite young lad from a loving and close knit family. It’s such a tragic accident rip russ xx”

And Sarah Halsall said: “So sad. My son played football and went to college with him xxx. Such a tragic loss... rip xxx”

Charlotte Pingriff said her thoughts were with his family and friends.

A minute’s silence will be held next week in his memory by the Worcester City Football Academy, which is run in conjunction with Worcester College of Technology, where he played.

Players and fans will fall silent before the team’s friendly against Archdales ’73 at Claines Lane on Tuesday (kick-off 6.30pm).

Russell is the fourth person to die at the quarry in the past two decades – three of the victims aged 17 – and his death has inevitably raised questions about the safety of swimming in open water.

Stephen Bound, director of the Malvern Hills Conservators which owns the quarry, said: “Our condolences go out to the family and friends of this young man.

“The water in the lake is very cold and it is this more than anything else that makes it dangerous to swim in.”

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