Mark was one in a million

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Staff reporter

TRIBUTES have been paid to a father whose body was found in the River Severn after a six-day search.

Mark Hodnett, 27, from Grange Road, Radbrook, went missing in the early hours of Saturday, August 13 after a night out with friends.

His body was found close to the Kingsland Bridge last Thursday.

A statement from his sister Sarah said: “Mark was a dedicated father to Oliver, a loving son to Patricia and Keith, an amazing brother to Sarah and a top friend to all, especially to Ian Salter, Liam Scadding, Sean Simister, Phil Dryden, Nick Ferguson and Matthew Everington.

“He was loved by all close family and will be sadly missed.

“A young life has been tragically ended and we sincerely hope we can prevent this from happening again.

“The support has been overwhelming and Mark will be remembered in our hearts forever.”

Schoolfriend Matthew Everington told Shrewsbury Living: “Even though he is gone Mark will never be forgotten. He will be sorely missed.”

Messages of condolence continue to flood onto the Facebook page set up to raise awareness of Mr Hodnett’s disappearance.

Emma Louise Ibbotson wrote: “I will always remember Mark for being the person that made everyone smile, a fun loving soul with a very big heart.”

Emma Davies, mother of Mr Hodnett’s one-year-old son Oliver, also wrote: “I just want you back here with our baby boy. Hope you’re looking down on me and are proud of me.”

CCTV footage shows Mr Hodnett leaving C:21 nightclub on Abbey Foregate making his way towards the nearby English Bridge at 12.55am on the day of his disappearance.

Police later found his mobile phone and shirt close to the River Severn in the area of the Quarry.

Members of the South Wales Police Underwater Search Team conducted a search of the River Severn and posters from the Missing People charity were put up around the town.

West Mercia Police has issued a warning about the dangers of the River Severn when under the influence of drink.

Chief Inspector Martin Whitelegg said: “The fact is that Shrewsbury town centre, with its pubs and clubs, is enclosed by the river and virtually everyone making their way home after a night out has to either cross it or pass close by.

“I am concerned that many people do not fully appreciate the potential dangers, especially when their judgement is impaired by alcohol.

“We strongly advise that wherever possible, people who have been drinking heavily should not be walking home alone.

“If it's been a good night out, then either walk home with friends or catch a taxi.”

There have been at least 24 deaths in the River Severn through Shropshire during the past six years.

The circumstances of Mr Hodnett's death are still being investigated.

l West Mercia Police has renewed an appeal for sightings of Mr Hodnett who was last seen at about 1.25am in the town centre.

Call Shrewsbury CID on 0300 333 3000 if you have any information.

A PETITION calling for dangerous areas of the River Severn to be fenced off has been launched in the wake of Mr Hodnett’s death.

More than 250 people have signed the online petition ‘Fence off the Severn’ following a poignant vigil near the Boathouse pub.

Initiatives to help safeguard vulnerable people along the river bank are now under consideration by Shropshire Council.

Director Tom McCabe said: “The land alongside the river is managed by various different landowners and the council, police, fire service and others are working together to raise awareness of the dangers of the river as well as how to make it safer.

“This includes safer drinking awareness campaigns and the installation of life buoys.

“We will continue to work with the wider River Safety Group with the aim of allowing safe and appropriate access to the paths alongside the river.”

Visit www.ipetitions.com/petition/fencethesevern to sign the petition.
 

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