Family and villagers talk of their devastation after father and three-year-old son die in boating tragedy
A DEVASTATED mother who lost her husband and three-year-old son in a boat accident has thanked the village community for saving her other two children and supporting her in her grief.
Emma Mynott, whose husband Julian, 42, and toddler son Freddie died after the boat they were in capsized in the River Avon in Barford on Saturday, is now with her two other children, who are making a recovery after being rescued from the river.
Mrs Mynott, who had not been in the boat at the time, said: “We are all devastated by what has happened, but I want to thank my neighbours and all the people from the community who have helped and offered support and the many people who have sent good will messages.
“The children’s school in particular has been very helpful and supportive at this difficult time, for which we are very grateful.
“I would also like to express my immense gratitude to everyone involved in the massive effort on Saturday evening to rescue my family. I would like to thank all the emergency services and all other agencies who were there and who have become involved since.”
• Julian Mynott’s father, Roger, told how he had spoken to his son just hours before his death.
Speaking from his home in Thailand, he said: “Julian told me he was going out on the boat with his kids. He was so happy and so excited that he was taking his kids boating.It was his dream to go boating on the river. I never worried about the children because I knew Julian was a safety freak and he would have made sure his kids wore life jackets.
“I’m still struggling to come to terms with it. He was the best father you could have, he just idolised his children. He never let those children five yards from his sight. He bought a boat because he thought the kids would love to go out on the river. They all had safety belts on. It was a little pleasure trip, a few laps down the river and back and it all resulted in a terrible accident. He spent whatever life he had left in himself trying to rescue those children.
“You can’t imagine how tragic it must have been for him to see his children in danger. I have spoken to the family and they told me he did everything he could he could to save them. It must have been the worst possible demise. He was a very, very wonderful person and a successful antiques dealer. Nobody will have a word to say against him. His mother died ten years ago from a stroke and I didn’t feel like continuing in the antiques business, so I handed the business over to my son and he made a wonderful success of it. I’m devastated, totally, totally devastated. He was the most wonderful person on the planet. I don’t know how I’m going to come to terms with this.”
• The rescue operation was sparked at 5.35pm on Saturday after Mr Mynott and his children fell into the river after he got into trouble on the fast-flowing river which had been swollen by heavy rain. Battling against the fast moving water, two of the children were rescued from the river by villager Matthew Macfadyen.
West Midlands Ambulance Service said one of the children had suffered a cardiac arrest and was given CPR at the scene by the resident and policeman. Following an extensive operation involving Warwickshire Police, Warwickshire Fire and Rescue, West Midlands Ambulance Service and Severn Area Rescue, Freddie’s body was recovered from the water shortly before 8.30pm. Mr Mynott’s body was recovered just after 10pm. Both were declared dead at the scene.