The families of two women who died after their canoes capsized in a river in Bedfordshire have said they are “devastated” and “heartbroken” by their deaths.
Police have named the two women, who died after getting into difficulty in the River Ouse in Kempston earlier this month, as Sarah Waller, 56, and Laura Pottinger, 52.
Their bodies were recovered after emergency services were called to reports of two overturned canoes at around 10.50am on April 16.
Ms Waller’s family said: “We are devastated at the tragic loss of our sister and aunt Sarah. She was much loved by all and had many friends within the Bedfordshire community.
“Sarah’s passion for canoeing was her way of being outside and at one with nature. For this to have taken her and Laura’s lives is beyond anything we can comprehend.
“We would like to thank everyone who has contacted the family. We have been overwhelmed with the amount of kind messages and shared memories – she really did touch a lot of people in her life, and she was sadly taken from us far too soon.”
Ms Pottinger’s family said: “Laura, your passing has left us all completely heartbroken. Everyone who knew you has had their lives enriched by your kindness, intelligence, humour and love. It is going to be very hard to come to terms with you not being here any more.
“You were a phenomenal mother, wife, daughter, sister, aunty and friend to many, you made the world such a happier and brighter place.
“Your wonderful talent has been taken away from us far too soon, but you have left an extraordinary legacy through your work in the arts. Rest in peace.”
An investigation into the deaths will be carried out by a coroner.