Family hold memorial to mark 14th birthday of Robert Hattersley who died in River Tyne at Ovingham

Planning the event had provided Robert's grieving siblings with a much-needed distraction. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

The family of a boy who drowned in the River Tyne have held a memorial on what would have been his 14th birthday.

Robert Hattersley's loved ones gathered at the spot near to where he lost his life, at Ovingham, Northumberland.

Flowers and a piece of cake were placed in the river and a handful of balloons were released.

Balloons were released on the banks of the River Tyne in memory of Robert Hattersley. Credit: ITV News Tyne Tees

Speaking to ITV News Tyne Tees, Robert's uncle Darren Dominy praised the memorial which had been organised by the teen's sisters.

"They had things planned to do with him so they didn't want to not do something," he said.

"They wanted to carry on that tradition. They wanted to celebrate his life as much as anything else."

Family and friends turned out to mark Robert's birthday near to where he died in Ovingham. Credit: ITV News Tyne Tees

Mr Dominy said the family had been devastated at the "waste of a young life" but added that the event had provided Robert's grieving siblings with a much-needed distraction.

Robert, of Crawcrook, got into trouble while swimming with friends in the river on the afternoon of Sunday 17 July.

A major rescue operation was launched involving police, fire, coastguard and mountain rescuers.

Police confirmed the following morning that his body had been found in the water.

Tributes were left to Robert on what would have been his 14th birthday, less than a month after he died. Credit: ITV News Tyne Tees

Robert, who attended Thorp Academy in Ryton, was described by his uncle Terry Dominy as a "typical teenager" who was "loved by everyone".

He said: "He was just the typical teenager. He loved his football. He was just a happy little chap. He had lots of friends, just a normal boy. He was loved by everyone."

Robert's uncles praised the community for coming together in the aftermath of their nephew's death and said the family had received lots of support.

They are now calling for signs to be placed near to the river warning youngsters of the hidden dangers.

Darren Dominy added: "We would hate to look at the newspaper one day or watch the news and see another child has died in the same place. It's unthinkable."

Listen to ITV News' What You Need To Know podcast: