Man arrested after body of 2-year-old boy was recovered from lake in Southampton nature reserve

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A two-year-old boy who died after becoming unresponsive in a lake was a “character” who “filled our hearts with joy and happiness,” his family said.

The body of 2-year-old Greyson Birch, from Southampton, was recovered from the lake at a beauty spot in Hampshire just over a week ago, and his police named him today as his parents shared their memory of him.

In a moving tribute, his family said, “His memory will always remain and live on through the smiles and joys of all who had the pleasure of meeting him.”

Greyson was discovered on May 30 in the Swanwick Lakes Nature Reserve near Fareham, Hampshire, and taken to Southampton General Hospital, where he died four days later.

An 18-year-old Southampton man, who police say is known to the boy, was arrested and released on bail until June 27.

Greyson was described as a ‘character that neither family, friends or other persons will nor can forget’.

And relatives of the “bubbly” Greyson Birch said he had a “cheeky smile” that “will remain in their hearts forever.”

The body of 2-year-old Greyson Birch (above), from Southampton, was recovered from a lake at a beauty spot in Hampshire on May 30. An 18-year-old man believed to have been with him has been arrested and released

The tribute, issued by the police, added: ‘His sparkling personality that filled our whole hearts with joy and happiness will linger in this world.

“Greyson was our light and life that will still shine upon us through our thoughts and memories. Greyson would love to dance, sing, play, just anything.

“To know that every time we hear Twinkle Twinkle or someone playing Baby Shark and he’s not there dancing and clapping his hands, it kills us deep in our hearts.”

People living near Swanwick Lake said they saw more than 16 emergency vehicles – including a trauma helicopter – coming to the scene on May 30.

A man who lives about 100 meters from the lakes said he saw about six police cars, two ambulances, fire engines and also the trauma helicopter.

He said: ‘There were about five or six police cars, two ambulances and I heard the air ambulance upstairs.

“It was such a scene that all the local people came out to see what was going on.

“We thought it was some kind of exercise related to NATS, the air traffic control center by the lake.”

Swanwick Lake in Hants (pictured) is part of a 36-acre nature reserve.  Greyson's body was recovered from a lake here on May 30th

Swanwick Lake in Hants (pictured) is part of a 36-acre nature reserve. Greyson’s body was recovered from a lake here on May 30th

Police and forensic officer on the scene Monday May 31 at Swanwick Lake in Hants

Police and forensic officer on the scene Monday May 31 at Swanwick Lake in Hants

The toddler, from Southampton, Hants, was rushed 20 miles by ambulance to Southampton General Hospital, where he was then reportedly in a ‘critical but stable condition’ but died tragically as a result of his injuries.

Today, his heartbroken family released a photo of the smiling blond boy and paid tribute to him.

They said, “Greyson Birch, our beloved son, brother and dear relative who has sadly been taken from us, was a character that family, friends or anyone else would not and cannot forget.

His sparkling personality that filled our whole hearts with joy and happiness will linger in this world.

“Greyson was our light and life that will still shine upon us through our thoughts and memories. Greyson would love to dance, sing, play, just anything!

“To know that every time we hear Twinkle Twinkle or someone playing Baby Shark and he’s not there dancing and clapping his hands, it kills us deep in our hearts.

The cheeky little smile that would grace our presence will forever remain in the hearts of our family and friends. I know he is now in a safe place watching over his sibling and everything that has become a part of his short but wonderful life.

“In this time of need, we ask that all of our family and close friends be left to grieve and come to terms with the devastation that has been unwittingly let into our lives.

“His memory will always remain and live through the smiles and joys of all who had the pleasure of meeting him.”

Hampshire police continue to investigate circumstances surrounding how Greyson ended up in the water and are looking for witnesses

Hampshire police continue to investigate circumstances surrounding how Greyson ended up in the water and are looking for witnesses

An 18-year-old man, who was with Greyson at the time, was arrested and released on bail by Hampshire police until the end of this month.

Detective Inspector Matt Gillooly, who is leading the investigation, previously said: “This is a very sad case and our thoughts are with the child’s family at this time.

“We are still trying to determine exactly how this boy ended up in the water and we are open to the circumstances.”

Hampshire Police are continuing to investigate the circumstances surrounding how Greyson ended up in the water and are calling on anyone who was in the area between 7:45pm and 8:30pm to get in touch.

The 36 acre site of Swanwick Lakes was once a clay pit for a local brick factory.

It is described by Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust as ‘a beautiful haven for nature in an otherwise urban area. A mixture of forests, lakes and meadows attracts a large number of species’.

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