More than 1,900 people have backed a campaign calling for new safety measures in Newbury after a three-year-old boy fell into a canal and died.

The boy and his mother were rescued from the Kennet & Avon Canal, near a weir, at around 2pm on Saturday, March 13, and taken to hospital.

Thames Valley Police said the boy died later that day in hospital.

The circumstances around what happened on Saturday have not been confirmed by police, but the force confirmed the death is being treated as “unexplained but not suspicious”.

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Briony Palmer has since launched a petition calling on West Berkshire Council should put up a “strong barrier” near that section of the canal “to prevent accidents like this happening in the future”.

The petition states: “The weir at Victoria Park, by Ash Bridge, has long been recognised as a potential danger zone, with turbulent waters and a strong current rolling into the canal.

“Other than a brick wall behind the small bridge walking directly over it, and some short railings backing off of this, there no other safety measures in place to prevent one falling into the weir.”

It adds: “A simple extension of fencing around the weir itself, and the first portion of footpaths on either side, would be sufficient to help prevent another tragedy.

“Please sign if you care to help us all create something useful as we move forward out of this situation.

“Our thoughts and sincere condolences are with the mother, and family of the child at this difficult time.”

Within five hours of the petition being launched, on Sunday, it had gained more than 1,000 signatures.

Cllr Lynne Doherty, leader of the council, said: "This incident seems to have occurred near to Ash Bridge next to the sluice on the canal.  

"There is a public footpath and (according to land registry) the land and sluice are owned by the Canal and River Trust.

"This is a tragic incident which will be fully investigated by the emergency services. We will work with the Police and the Canal and River Trust to fully understand what happened and how future incidents could be prevented.

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"At this moment in time we are not aware of any similar incidents or near misses at this location but anything we can do to increase awareness of water safety will be looked into with the Canal and River Trust."

A major rescue operation was underway when police, paramedics, and firefighters were called to the canal on Saturday afternoon to rescue the boy and his mother from the water.

In a statement, Thames Valley Police said: “Both the woman and child were recovered from the water and were taken to hospital for treatment.

“Tragically, the child later died in hospital. His family are being supported by specially trained officers.

“The child’s mother has been discharged from hospital."