The funeral of 15-year-old Tonibeth Purvis, who died in the River Wear last week while trying to save her friend Chloe Fowler, has taken place in her hometown of Washington.
In a eulogy delivered by the Rev Canon David Glover, he said:
"One thing that has profoundly moved me in this is that Tonibeth's parents want it made clear that that what happened was just an accident - no one was to blame - no one should live with any guilt about this.
"This was just a tragic accident.
"But if there is any consolation for you it may be in the fact that Tonibeth died trying to help her friend.
"She died a hero but most important she died a friend."
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They say local churches have already responded and will continue to pray, offer pastoral care and assist those affected.