A schoolboy whose body was found in the River Irwell yesterday had a 'heart the size of a lion' and the 'capability to brighten up a room', his devastated teachers have said.

Adam Kay was found near Clifton Country Park following a frantic search operation yesterday afternoon (Tuesday).

He was last seen in the water at around 3.30pm. 

The alarm was raised before dozens of emergency response vehicles were scrambled to the scene. Tragically, Adam's body was found a short time later. 

He was just 14-years-old. 

Now, teachers from Harper Green School, in Farnworth, have remembered the much-loved teenager in a series of emotional tributes. 

He has been described as a 'happy, bubbly and popular' pupil whose death will have a 'great effect' on everyone at the school.

Headteacher Stephen Gribbon headteacher, said: “Adam only joined our school this year, but he very soon became popular due to his kind nature. 

“Adam always had a smile on his face and his boundless energy was infectious. In school Adam was always laughing and joking with his friends and had time for everyone.

Adam Kay

“Adam’s innate ability to befriend anyone that had the pleasure to meet him meant that people liked being around him and the loss of such a young and charismatic individual will affect so many people. 

"My thoughts are with Adam’s family and friends and I offer the support of all the Harper Green community at this incredibly sad time.” 

Sally Heppenstall, deputy headteacher, said: “Even though he had only been at Harper Green School a short period of time, Adam very quickly became a valued and well-liked member of our school community.

"I will remember him for his infectious laugh. He would spend breaks and lunchtimes on the yard and in the year team with his close group of friends laughing and joking around. His laugh was infectious. He was a loyal friend whose tragic passing will affect so many. My thoughts are with his family and friends.

Mr Davies, associate deputy headteacher, said: “Since joining us at the start of year nine, Adam quickly established himself as a part of the Harper Green community.

“He was a fun-loving young man with a great sense of humour. I looked forward to our chats, as no matter what else was going on, he was always able to make me smile.

"Adam made friends quickly and was an extremely well-liked member of the year group. His presence is going to be hugely missed at the school, by students, staff and personally by me. “ 

Mrs McFadian, Adam's head of year, said: “Adam was a happy, bubbly student who could always be seen smiling and laughing with his friends. He had recently joined Harper Green and was making the most of the opportunity to fulfil his potential.

"We are deeply saddened by his passing and our thoughts are with his family and friends at this terribly difficult time.” 

Mrs Atkinson, his pastoral coordinator, said: “Adam hadn’t been a Harper Green pupil for a very long but had quickly settled to become part of our school community. Adam had a quiet determination to succeed, a huge respect for others and was a very loyal friend to those closest to him. He was well-liked by staff and pupils alike, and will be greatly missed.

"My thoughts are with his family and friends at such a terribly sad time.”

Adam attended Harper Green School, in Farnworth
Adam attended Harper Green School, in Farnworth

Mrs Knight, Adam’s assistant head of year, said: “Adam is going to be greatly missed by the friends he made at Harper Green School. He was a chatty and confident young man who enjoyed school life. We are deeply saddened by his passing and our thoughts are with his family and friends at this tragic time.” 

Mr Spence, his form tutor, said: “I was Adam’s form tutor at Harper Green School and I am so sorry to hear this terrible news. 

“He was a lively character in the form and always had lots of energy. He will be missed by his form members and by myself enormously.” 

Mr Worrell, assistant head of PE, said: “Adam was great young man and always very polite. He loved doing PE was always interested in asking me questions about different sports I played. I know he loved his free running and Parkour and I’d often have to ask him not to jump over the PE banister! 

“But that was Adam, a fun, adventurous and athletic young man who would have been an amazing athlete in the summer months. I often told him how brilliant he would be at the high jump when we were to begin after Easter. It’s such a shame. He surely will be missed!”

Mrs Holmes-Patel, assistant head teacher and Adam’s English teacher, said: “Adam only joined my class in the last couple of months and had really started to show his talent in English. He also offered support and kindness to other new students. 

“He will be sadly missed by his fellow students and staff, a lovely boy.” 

Mrs Sharples, hospitality and catering teacher, said: “Adam will be missed in hospitality and catering, he was a good cook with a big personality. 

“My thoughts are with his family and friends at this sad time. RIP Adam.” 

History teacher Mr Marlow said: “Adam was a popular pupil and it has been a pleasure to have taught him. He will be very sadly missed by his many friends at the school.”

Police and fire crews at the scene yesterday in Clifton Country Park
Police and fire crews at the scene yesterday in Clifton Country Park

Mr Porteous, PE teacher, said: “Adam was a respectful student with a fantastic sense of humour. He thoroughly enjoyed his PE lessons and always had a fantastic attitude to his learning. He is a student who will be dearly missed.” 

Photography teacher Mrs Ashton said: “Adam was a very bubbly, polite and well-liked young man. He was always loved to chat and tell me his stories of what has been happening with himself. He always entered the classroom with a huge smile on his face. He will definitely be missed from our photography lessons.” 

Mrs Daniels, maths teacher, said: “I only spent a short time as your maths teacher, but what a positive impression you left on me. A hard-working, bright boy who was liked by all his peers. May you rest in peace Adam.” 

Ms Griffin, personal development teacher, said: “I only taught him for a short time but Adam made a big impression. He was really chatty and always had a story to tell me. He was a pleasure to teach and I really liked his energy.”

Science teacher Mr Arshid said: “Really shocking and upsetting to hear about Adam, He was great spirit in science and was very known by everyone. Even though he struggled he always tried his best and even came back in his own time to catch up with the work he missed as he had started the year late.

"He is a great loss for Our school and we will all miss him a lot.” 

Head of year Mr Kenny said: “I will never forget when Adam first joined us. His positivity and eagerness to please was admirable and I immediately took to his wit and positivity. In his first couple of days at Harper he asked to join our school rugby team and I invited him to rugby practice. 

“He was amazing! He had the heart size of a lion and had no problems taking down the students who were bigger than him!!  Adam had the capability to brighten up a room and when he was around, he always made me smile with his humour and caring nature.  

“My thoughts and prayers are with all Adam’s friends and family. Rest in Peace Adam.”

Tributes have poured in for the much-loved teen
Tributes have poured in for the much-loved teen

Ms Richards, maths teacher, said: “Adam was a lovely, polite young man that always had time to talk to staff and share his stories. He will be greatly missed." 

Mrs Houston, English teacher, said: “I’m deeply saddened by the loss of Adam, he was one of my favourite pupils when on Praise Patrol. He always had a cheery wave for me and a bright smile, a pleasant greeting or a laugh over a shared joke. I often had much to praise him for as he really was trying so hard to thrive in our school. I know that his friends will miss him, as will I. 

“My heart and sincere condolences go out to all of his family and friends. Sending strength, love and peace.” 

Mr Cookson, maths teacher, said: “I didn't teach Adam as such but worked with him in supporting him in maths. He was a hard-working and enthusiastic young man. He will be sadly missed.”