Published: 09:00, 06 December 2017
| Updated: 09:44, 06 December 2017
Coastguards who helped search for a teenager who was later found dead in the River Medway have paid tribute on the year anniversary of his disappearance.
Ben Savage, 18, had been on a night out at the Tap ‘n’ Tin in Chatham on December 6, 2016, when he went missing.
His family called the emergency services when he did not return home and extensive searches were carried out across the Medway Towns to find him.
In a message posted on the HM Coastguard - Medway Station Facebook page yesterday evening, officers paid their respects to the teenager.
The post reads: “This evening, Coastguard Rescue Officers from the Medway Coastguard Rescue Team undertook a routine meeting and training session as we normally do and many things were discussed and training undertaken in order to keep our skills up-to-date.
“Our attention, however, was drawn to the fact that 12 months ago to the day, within a few hours we would be involved in a major search for a missing teenager - Mr Ben Savage."
On February 1, police called the coastguard to Rochester Bridge where they recovered a body, which was later confirmed to be Ben.
The post continued: “Breaking from protocol, but with authority from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, members of the Medway Coastguard Rescue Team attended the funeral of Ben to pay our respects to him and his family and friends.
“On behalf of the Medway Coastguard Rescue Team: Ben may you Rest in Peace on this; the anniversary of your loss in the hopes that now you are ashore and at rest, your family may visit you whenever they wish to, not wondering where you are.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with your family and friends this evening. Sleep well.”
Ben’s family have backed a campaign led by Kent Search and Rescue called Safe and Dry in a bid to prevent more people dying in the river.
Speaking at the campaign launch, Ben’s great aunt Rita Hasemore said: "We're still in a stage of grieving.
"This can be any family going through what we're going through. And we want to stop it. We all have got to work together to stop it."
"What we want to do, along with this campaign, is to raise the awareness so that no other family has to go through what we went through, not just this December.
"We want this campaign to keep running so that this doesn't happen to another family. It's devastating."
The campaign is supported by Kent Police, Medway Council, Kent County Council and Kent Fire and Rescue.
A vigil will be held at Chatham Pier at 7pm where lanterns will be let off by his family and friends.
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