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Friends stage a vigil for river death teen
SCHOOLFRIENDS of a teenager who drowned after jumping into the River Thames held a vigil at the spot where he died.
Tributes continued to be made yesterday to Hussain Mohammed, as Oxford’s Muslim community was said to be in deep shock at the 15-year-old’s death.
Hussain, who lived in Cowley, drowned after jumping into the Thames at Donnington Bridge on Friday night.
His friends gathered at the spot where he died in solemn remembrance of him.
Yesterday Sue Croft, headteacher at Oxford Spires Academy, remembered Hussain as “a smiling and popular student who had many close friends within our current Year 11 cohort.
“Many of them were involved in a vigil to remember him on Sunday.
“Our thoughts and support go out to Hussain’s family and friends.”
She described the mood at the school, where Hussain was a pupil until March 2011, as calm. Staff would be talking to his former schoolmates over the coming days about how best to remember the youngster, she added.
Hussain, who lived in Cowley, was the youngest of nine children, and attended Central Oxford Mosque in Manzil Way.
Sabir Hussain Mirza, who is on the executive body of the mosque, said he had been in close contact with Hussain’s family since the tragic accident.
He said: “He used to study at the mosque and he was really wonderful, very bright and well-behaved and also very helpful, cleaning and tidying up.
“The whole community is very shocked by what’s happened. It is very sad and painful for the whole community.”
A Facebook group, RIP Hussain Mohammed, has been set up in his memory, and by last night 168 people had ‘liked’ the page.
A video uploaded on the site included comments from his cousin, Siama Begum.
She said: “He didn’t like swimming, he didn’t like going near water.
“We just don’t understand.”
She described her cousin as “always the centre of attention”.
She said: “He always had a smile on his face and was very popular with friends and family and everyone.
“He was full of fun, jokes and was looking forward to starting college.”
Comments from friends included Naresh Kumar, who said: “I remember you as always coming out on the street with your bike, having a big smile, cracking jokes and being a mate and a good lad.
“Gone but never forgotten.”
Faizan Kaleem said: “So happy that I had you as a friend always safe to me and always gave me jokes just remember cleaning the mosque with you.
“Good Times R.I.P Brother xx”
Flags were flown at half-mast on the river during Oxford University’s Summer Eights rowing races on Saturday, and a minute’s silence was held before the competition started.
Celebrations were muted on the stretch of river and traditions of jumping into the water and throwing the cox overboard were cancelled out of respect.
An inquest into his death was due to be formally opened yesterday.