Euan Coulthard’s family pay tribute to their ‘friendly and outgoing’ son

Pro-Vice Chancellor says ‘no stone will be left unturned’ in bid to boost student safety

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The family of the late Euan Coulthard have paid tribute to their son, and thanked the civilian diver who helped find him.

In a statement released through Durham Constabulary, they said: “Losing Euan in the way we have has left us totally bereft and our lives will never be the same again.

“Euan was a friendly, out-going and fun-loving young man who embraced university life and had a very bright future ahead of him. He was thoroughly enjoying his time at St Mary’s College and had made many friends in his time there.

“We would like to thank the college for the unwavering support it has given us during a prolonged period of sadness and uncertainty, and also Euan’s friends who raised the alarm when he disappeared and joined in searches to find him.

“We will be eternally grateful to the diver who located him and who, with support of the emergency services, brought him home to us.”

After a week long search for the missing student, Euan Coulthard’s body was found in the River Wear by a civilian diver close to where he went missing.

Trevor Bankhead, from Chester-le-Street, travelled 170 miles from the Western Isles to conduct his own search of the river.

He told the Northern Echo: “Nobody knows that river like me and my brother – I know the riverbed like the back of my hand and I knew that I had to do something to help bring closure for the boy’s mother.

“I knew that the body would either be by the weir or in the debris-field where people have thrown things from the bridge – there’s shopping trolleys, dustbins, trees, placards allsorts. I knew he wouldn’t have gone past the weir.

“I found him within 30 seconds of being in the water as I was making my way down to the weir. The water was about two metres deep. I knew it was him. We had a moment together – I said to him ‘I’ve come to take you home my friend’.”

In a statement to the press, the Durham Pro-Vice Chancellor, Professor Graham Dowl, said:

“We will be working closely with our partners, including the Student Union and rescue services to make sure we get a full range of solutions. We will hear from a range of voices and will be drawing in experts on river safety.

“We will be taking a measured response, there will not be a knee jerk response. We will leave no stone unturned as we try to improve safety.

“We are not presuming there is a link between the three deaths in the last 14 months, but we are open minded.

“Students have reacted with sadness and shock. It is a time for grieving, for us all to come to terms with the loss. We have offered a full range of counselling for students, while students have been supporting each other.

“There is a sense of closure. The university has been in contact with Euan’s family to offer support at such a difficult time.

“Speaking more generally, there is an issue across the UK with drinking and the behaviour of people linked to it.”