A poignant appeal has been launched to help three little boys who watched their mother drown in Bedford river.
Mum Leanne Gordon bravely attempted to rescue a friend’s child who was struggling in the River Ouse at Queens Park earlier this month.
She saved the child but sadly the current pulled her underwater.
Her body was found the following morning.
Single mum Leanne, 30, had gone to the river for a picnic during the heatwave with sons Lorenza, nine, Lascalle, five and three-year-old Evan.
The boys stood on the bank watching helplessly as their mum got into distress, and Lorenzo ran for help, shouting “She’s drowning”.
He is now being cared for by his mechanic father Antonio. The younger boys, who had a different dad, are living with Leanne’s sister.
Staff at Samsons Fitness, where Leanne worked as a volunteer, have launched a crowdfunding appeal to raise £1,000 for each of the boys.
“What those children went through is indescribably sad. Our aim is to raise £1,000 each to put in a special bank account to buy things they need in the future,” said gym co-owner Sam Nutt.
“We’d like to buy them a present each or perhaps even pay for a holiday to make them smile after their terrible loss.”
Leanne walked into the Midland Road gym six months ago asking if they could use her as a volunteer worker in exchange for fitness sessions.
“We agreed and she was amazing. She worked really hard and she lit up the place with her smile,” said Sam.
“She was one of those people who always had a smile on their face, no matter what problems they have.
“We all miss her terribly and can’t believe what happened. We still keep expecting her to walk up the stairs with a great big beautiful smile on her face.”
To donate to the boys’ fund visit www.crowdfunding.justgiving.com/samsons4leanne
The page, which had raised £840 at the time the T&C went to press states: “Leanne’s bright sparkle and positive personality brought true happiness to everyone she met at the gym. Not once did Leanne come in not happy or laughing. Leanne will be truly and sadly missed by everyone at Samsons.
It adds: “The team would like to offer our sincere condolences to all of Leanne’s family and friends. We would like to help the children’s future by raising money for them.
“We are also collecting money at the gym and holding bucket collections at our future events.
“Please support this fund - however small - every little will help to support Leanne’s children.”
The gym will also be collecting for the family at the Bedfordshire Fitness Expo on September 17 at the University of Bedfordshire.
Sam said: “Everybody feels for these children and wants to help. We’ve had people walking in off the street to give us a fiver for the fund.
“This is a tragedy that has affected the entire community in Bedford.”