TRIBUTES have been paid to a 'beautiful' and 'cheeky' toddler who died after falling into a canal near Newbury.

The youngster tumbled into the water of the Kennet and Avon Canal on Saturday afternoon while out with his mother.

ALSO READ: Emotional family tribute to toddler described as the 'best big brother' after fatal canal fall

National reports suggest Shelley Nardini, from Newbury, jumped into the canal to save her son Dylan but he was swept away 'almost a mile downstream' before both were pulled out of the water.

The mother and son were rushed to hospital but police later confirmed the three year old tragically died hours after. Ms Nardini, aged 36, was treated and later discharged home.

ALSO READ: Toddler, 3, dies in hospital after tragic canal fall

The little boy and his mother were reportedly out feeding the swans and ducks, just yards from a children’s park and boating lake when it happened.

In seconds, the three-year-old boy had fallen into the water before his mother jumped in to save him, friends said on Sunday.

Joe Bate, of the Dry Dock Company, a narrowboat maintenance company on the canal and near the scene, said emergency services descended to rescue the mother and child from the fast-flowing river almost a mile from where the child fell in.

Tributes to Dylan, 3, after tragic canal fall in Newbury. Pic from Hyde News

Tributes to Dylan, 3, after tragic canal fall in Newbury. Pic from Hyde News

Thames Valley Police has said the death 'is being treated as unexplained but not suspicious' and a file is currently being prepared by for the coroner into the death of Dylan - known officially as Dylan Milsom having taken his father Peter Milsom's surname.

ALSO READ: Council responds as thousands call for new barrier after tragic canal death

Just 10 months before the tragedy, grandmother Jackie Arrowsmith posted pictures of the "peaceful" Newbury canal on social media. Commenting on the images, mother Shelley Nardini wrote: "Dylan loves walking along the canal to see all the boats - lucky we have this walking distance from our house."

Tributes have since been paid on social media in memory of Dylan, including from his aunt Claire Arrowsmith who posted a picture of the youngster and said:"Your beautiful, funny, cheeky little boy. We love you so much Dylan."

Among the dozens of comments, another post said: "So beautiful. That smile will shine forever in our hearts Shelley."

Since the tragic incident residents in Newbury have also started a petition calling for improved safety measures at the Kennet and Avon canal in Newbury.

A comment on the petition from family member Claire Arrowsmith said: "Thank you so much for starting this petition. We were talking about starting one this morning.

"The little boy who fell in yesterday was my beautiful nephew, he was the sweetest, little monkey you could ever wish to meet. My sister did everything she could to save him but the current was just too strong.

"Thank you you all for signing. I hope and pray that nobody else ever has to suffer this awful heartbreak. Thank you again."

Almost 4,000 people have signed a petition to encourage new safety measures including a barrier around the weir.

Local resident Briony Palmer, who started the petition, said: “The weir at Victoria Park, by Ash Bridge in Newbury, has long been recognised as a potential danger zone, with turbulent water and a strong current rolling into the canal.

“We need a strong barrier in place to prevent accidents like this from happening in the future."

CLICK HERE to support the petition