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Last Updated: Thursday, 10 November 2005, 17:33 GMT
Village heartbreak over lost boys
By Eleanor Williams
BBC News, Dorset

Flower tribute
The boys were swept out during the "worst storm in living memory"

The worst storm in living memory was followed by a night no-one in the village was ever likely to forget.

On a sunny summer's day it is one of the most beautiful and tranquil places in Dorset - tourists visit in their droves and the place grows to three times its size.

But on 3 November Lulworth Cove was transformed as it was battered by 70mph winds.

Three boys from the village, Matthew Myburgh, 16, Charlie Morrell, 15 and Richard Lawrence, 15, decided to head down to the waterfront to watch the force of nature first hand.

It was early evening but already dark when Matthew and Charlie climbed up on to a cliff ledge on the western point of the cove.

They were watching the sea batter the cliffs below them when a sudden wave swept them off their feet and out into the raging water.

Lulworth cliffs
The boys were swept off cliffs on the western point of the cove

Richard, who had been standing at a higher ledge, jumped after them in a desperate attempt to rescue his friends.

But the waves were too strong and he was thrown back towards the cliffs.

He managed to raise the alarm at a nearby hotel and the coastguard and the police launched a massive search of the cove and the sea outside, but the boys were already lost.

The search went on for nearly a week with the families refusing to give up hope.

On the morning of the sixth day the rain and storms had died down, the sun was out and the cove was once again peaceful.

Charlie Morrell (l) and Matthew Myburgh (r)
Charlie Morrell and Matthew Myburgh were both local boys

A local fisherman went for a stroll along the shoreline looking for any trace of the boys that might have been washed up during the night. He found Matthew's body.

As news spread through the village, people started arriving by the little café down by the shore where the floral tributes had been growing day by day.

Friends of the boys gathered on the beach. They huddled together in silence.

On any ordinary sunny November day, Lulworth cove would be a place full of life and activity, but this Wednesday it was one gripped by sadness.

Most people came down for a quiet moment, to reflect over what had happened or to place some flowers on the beach, all the time aware that although Matthew had been found, Charlie was still missing.

Beach Hotel
The surviving boy raised the alarm at Lulworth Beach Hotel

While police marine teams searched the cove, Charlie's mother refused to give up hope to find him alive.

A private boat went out to search the coastline outside the cove with her onboard.

Moments after they returned news broke that a second body had been discovered.

Charlie was found in almost the same spot as his friend.

Reverend Robert Naylor, of Holy Trinity Church in the village, had supported the families and the villagers through the tragedy.

"It's quite symbolic really, that the friends were lost on the same day and then found on the same day, so close to each other."

Reverend Naylor said the storms were the worst he had experienced in his six years in Lulworth.

"The sea was just boiling. Seeing those waves and the power of them must have been fascinating to anyone," he said.

The body of Charlie Morrell was found within hours of his friend's

But no-one is blaming anyone said Mr Holman, head teacher at Purbeck School where the boys were pupils.

"We don't know what they were doing, but I don't think there is any question of anyone trying to put blame - it's just the way 15-year-old boys are."

The school is planning to hold a commemoration at a later date.

"But it'll be a celebration, rather than a gloomy event," said Mr Holman.

Swept away boy's clothing found
07 Nov 05 |  Dorset
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