Aylsham father’s fundraising trip in memory of his son

The father and brother of a boy who drowned five years ago are to mark the anniversary of the tragedy by raising money for causes close to his heart.

Sean Laxen, nine, from Horsford, died in August 2007 after he fell into water after slipping on rocks at Conwy Falls in the Welsh town of Betws-y-Coed.

Since Sean's death, his father, Richard, who lives in Aylsham and works for Norfolk County Council, has raised thousands of pounds in his son's memory with annual quests.

They have included sponsored parachute jumps, abseils and walks but this year Sean's brother, Scott, 13, will be joining him for a fundraising 24.5km canoe trip on the River Bure between Aylsham and Wroxham.

Mr Laxen said the trip would bring back memories of a canoe trip from Stalham Staithe he took with his sons just a few weeks before Sean's death.

He said: 'We shall be using a Canadian canoe to paddle the River Bure. Scott and I plan to make a full day of it and stop for a snack at Buxton.

'This will be very special as in August 2007 we had all cycled along the Bure Valley to Buxton and played by the Railway Bridge, with Sean wanting to swim but we had not brought our costumes.

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'I said 'we will do it next time you are with me', but that never happened.'

Mr Laxen added: 'It has been a difficult five years for everybody, especially Scott, who has had to adapt to an existence without Sean.

Ninety per cent of the money raised will be donated to a project for children at the Bure Valley Railway to buy and install a slide on the bank outside the cafe.

That spot has special significance for Mr Laxen, as his sons used to slide down the grass there.

The remaining money will be shared between Sean's former schools, Horsford Middle School and St Faith Primary School, along with Betws-y-Coed Primary Schools and Sidestrand Hall Special School.

An inquest in 2008 heard how Sean, who was on holiday with his mother, Linda, and Scott, had slipped on rocks at the water's edge and drowned.

Rescuers from the Ogwen Valley Mountain Rescue Team spent 27 hours looking for Sean before he was discovered in a deep pool close to where he fell.

Coroner John Hughes described Sean's death as a 'terrible tragedy' and recorded that it had been an accident.

Mr Laxen has previously helped raise hundreds of pounds for the Ogwen Valley Mountain Rescue Team while a memorial bench has been installed close to where Sean died.

His canoe trip, courtesy of The Canoe Man, in Wroxham, will take place on Saturday, August 11.

To sponsor him email richard52@talktalk.net

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