Man who drowned in river at St Neots identified locally

Emergency services search for a missing person.

Emergency services search for a missing person. - Credit: Archant

A man who drowned in the River Great Ouse at St Neots on Saturday has been identified locally as James Griffin.

It is believed that Mr Griffin, 40, from the St Neots area, entered the water at Regatta Meadow shortly after 9.30am to retrieve a ball but failed to re-surface.

A rescue operation was launched, with divers from Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service and specialist search teams called to the scene.

The rescue teams recovered Mr Griffin’s body from the water at about 3pm.

At Eynesbury St Mary’s Church, candles were lit in memory of Mr Griffin, a father-of-three, during Sunday services.

The area of water where the former Hinchingbrooke School pupil disappeared was due to host the annual St Neots Dragon Boat Festival on Saturday but the event was cancelled while the search was carried out by divers.

Mark Saywell, of the St Neots Drgaon Boat team, said: “(Saturday) was quite frankly horrible, but the class, decorum and respect shown by the team supporting teams, the mayor and council was exemplary.”

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The event is organised by St Neots Town Council, St Neots Dragon Boat Team and the Rotary Club of St Marys St Neots and was set to feature Paralympian and downhill ski racer Sean Rose, who was attending as a special guest of the mayor of St Neots, Councillor James Corley.

More than 20 crews from St Neots companies and organisations had been expected to race in 30ft dragon boats over the 200 metre course.

As well as the dragon boat race, which raises thousands of pounds for charity, the event was also set to feature entertainment including market stalls, a funfair, Pimms tent and live music. The festivities were scheduled to come to an end at 9pm with a firework display.