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Thousands light virtual candles as daily mourns frozen lake boys

Thousands of people have come forward to light a virtual candle after a regional daily launched an online memorial for four young boys who died after falling into a freezing lake.

More than 3,000 people have left messages of condolence on Birmingham Live, sister website to the Birmingham Mail, after the title launched an online tribute to the children.

Brothers Finlay and Samuel Butler, aged eight and six, their 11-year-old cousin Thomas Stewart and a fourth youngster Jack Johnson, 10, have died after falling into Babbs Mill Lake, in Solihull, last Sunday.

Birmingham Live’s tribute allows readers to light a virtual candle, with an accompanying map showing where tributes have been paid to the boys.

How the Mail covered the news of the first three boys' deaths

How the Mail covered the news of the first three boys’ deaths

Editor Graeme Brown told HTFP: “We are used to heartache in our industry – but every now and then, a story comes along that knocks you sideways – Babbs Mill was just that.

“We’ve been following the tragedy since the afternoon it happened – and seen four young lives taken.

“My staff have been exemplary – thorough and challenging but considerate and empathetic – but we still wanted to go further to do what we can to help the families.

“There was already a GoFundMe set up, so we have supported that, and we thought we’d build something that gave people a place to share their grief.

“Hopefully it helped them grieve – and if it gives one second of relief to the friends and families of those four boys, who must be going through hell, then it has all been worth it.”