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Funeral appeal for 22-year-old who drowned in lake smashes target

Kristers Bednarskis, who drowned in a lake at Bawsey Pits, near KIng's Lynn  Picture: Ilja Jevtusenko

Kristers Bednarskis, who drowned in a lake at Bawsey Pits, near KIng's Lynn Picture: Ilja Jevtusenko

Archant

A crowd-funding appeal to pay the funeral costs of a 22-year-old man who drowned at a country park has smashed its target.

Emergency services on the scene at Bawsey Country Park, near King's Lynn. Picture: Ian BurtEmergency services on the scene at Bawsey Country Park, near King's Lynn. Picture: Ian Burt

Emergency services launched a major search operation after a swimmer got into difficulty at Bawsey Country Park, near King’s Lynn, on Saturday.

Firefighters later recovered the body of Kristers Bednarskis, from Peterborough, from the water.

Childhood friend Ilja Jevtusenko launched a crowd-funding appeal to raise £5,100 for funeral expenses. Today, the total stood at almost £5,400.

Mr Bednarskis’s brother Janeks posted: “Wow, I have no words honestly, I just don’t know what to say, I honestly appreciate everything everyone has done, everyone who shared and everyone who donated, we have reached our goal, in such a tiny amount of time.

Kristers Bednarskis  (second from right) with friends at a barbecue  Picture; Ilja JevtusenkoKristers Bednarskis (second from right) with friends at a barbecue Picture; Ilja Jevtusenko

“In all honesty I didn’t think we would even do £500, but you all proved me wrong, I honestly can’t thank everyone enough for supporting by donations and shares. Kristers’s family wanted me to pass on a really big thank you to you all as well.

“It has sorted so many things and troubles out for the family and it’s one burden off their shoulders. And I know if any of us would be in the position Kristers would be first to help, and I know he is looking down on all of us proudly.”

Mr Jevutsenko said he last saw Mr Bednarskis at a barbecue to celebrate his 22nd birthday two days before he drowned. He said Mr Bednarskis, who worked at a Tesco warehouse, was a regular gym goer.

“I’ve known him since secondary school, when we were 13 or 14,” he said. “He loved his gym work, it was like his second home. He was training for a power lifting competition in January, he had his own programme.”

Weights have been arranged in a cross as a tribute to Mr Bednarskis at the gym where he trained in Peterborough.

Saturday’s tragedy is the third drowning at the lake in a decade. A 41-year-old man and a 16-year-old boy lost their lives on the same day in July 2013.

Signs around the flooded former quarry workings warn visitors not to swim or paddle. But some ignore them when temperatures rise.


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