Town-man dies in canoe accident

A HAVE-A-GO hero who died saving the lives of others after his canoe tipped over was born and grew up in Hartlepool.

Grant Kinnie, 26, was leading a group of 11 pupils when disaster struck on the River Eamont, near Penrith, Cumbria, at the weekend.

It is believed brave Grant jumped into the water after the canoe capsized, throwing a number of the pupils overboard.

All of the youngsters survived although Grant sadly got into difficulty himself.

Paramedics and mountain rescue teams raced to the scene and the Great North Air Ambulance was also launched.

Grant was pulled from the water and treated at the scene by an air ambulance doctor and North West Ambulance Service paramedics.

He was then flown to the Royal Victoria Infirmary, in Newcastle, where he was later pronounced dead.

Grant, a former Clavering Primary School pupil who grew up in the Clavering area of town, was today described as “a lovely lad who would do anything for anyone” by a close relative.

The relative, who lives in Hartlepool, said: “It’s such a shame. Grant was a peacekeeper and was such a popular lad.

“You won’t find anyone who has a bad word to say about him.

“He had a real passion for the outdoors and loved outdoor activities.”

Despite moving to Darlington when he was 11-years old, Grant remained in close contact with friends in Hartlepool and regularly visited relatives.

He later moved to Patterdale, in Cumbria, where he worked at an outdoor activities centre.

Grant was working alongside four other instructors during the fateful incident at around lunchtime on Sunday.

Sean Duffy, a colleague of Grant’s at Patterdale Hall outdoor education centre, said: “Grant was what can only be described as the life and soul of any party, quick of wit and repartee and very much a people person.

“He lived his life to the full whether that be boating in the Lake District, snowboarding in Norway or sailing in the Mediterranean, he was in the thick of the action making sure everybody had a smile on their face as big as his own.”

Cumbria Police said they received a call at 12.40pm reporting a canoe which had capsized in the river near to Yanwath Hall, in Penrith.

They said the group consisted of 11 pupils from Manchester and five instructors.

A 14-year-old boy was taken to the Cumberland Infirmary for treatment, but his injuries were said to be non-life threatening.

None of the other members of the group required hospital treatment.

Police informed the Health and Safety Executive and the details have now been passed on to the coroner. A spokeswoman for the North West Ambulance Service, said: “We received a call to Stainton Island, Stockbridge Mill, in Penrith at 12.20pm on Sunday.

“Ambulance, a rapid response team, air ambulance and the mountain rescue team all attended the incident.

“A 26-year-old was taken by air ambulance to the RVI hospital, in Newcastle.

“A 14-year-old was taken by ambulance to Cumberland Infirmary, in Carlisle.”

A spokesman for the Great North Air Ambulance said: “We were called to assist the North West Ambulance Service with an incident on the River Eamont where two canoeists had got into difficulty.”