The family of a York teenager who lost her life in the river have paid a beautiful, emotional tribute to her.
Leah Bedford, 16, was “young, bubbly, strong, and very well loved”, they said this afternoon.
And they also urged other young people to stay safe and be careful on the riverbank.
Leah, from Acomb, went missing on 20 September. She was captured on CCTV at the edge of the river on Lendal Bridge the same day.
A police underwater unit found her body near Terry Avenue yesterday.
This afternoon her family and friends gathered to light candles and remember Leah at the Gateway Church in Acomb, where once she had gone to the youth club.
Her devastated father Paul led the tributes. “Leah was a loving daughter, granddaughter, niece, sister, and cousin, and a friend to many.
“She was young, bubbly, strong, and very well loved.
“She was a spontaneous young lady, and loved by many, who was taken far too soon.
“As a family, we would like to thank everyone for all their love and support that has been shown over these last few emotional weeks.
“Leah’s dad is overwhelmed with the love and support by many.
“As a family, we cannot stress enough the dangers of these waters. We are begging everyone to please stay safe and stay away from the riverbanks.”
Leah, who was a former student at York High School, had considered working in childcare, then more recently talked about working in forensics.
“She was very bright,” her aunt Mandy Shepherdson told YorkMix.
When younger, Leah had loved going camping and on seaside trips to Whitby with her dad, said her aunt Jayne Reynolds.
But she had also suffered a lot of loss. She had lost her mum when she was quite young, her nana and more recently a good friend in a car crash.
Her death has “destroyed us all, and particularly her dad,” Mandy said.
Jayne added: “It’s completely broken us.”
The family are still not sure how Leah came to be in the River Ouse, and are hoping more answers emerge in the coming days.