A MAN drowned in the Thames in Henley as he tried to swim to the other side after a night
A MAN drowned in the Thames in Henley as he tried to swim to the other side after a night out with friends.
Peter Redding, 34, from Tilehurst, Reading, got into difficulty halfway across and was pulled under water.
Tributes have been paid to the car salesman and keen musician, also known as Reg, who was described as a “warm, loving individual”.
The tragedy happened shortly before midnight last Friday when Mr Redding was on a night out with about 15 colleagues from Reading Audi, where he had been a sales executive for 11 years. They had been celebrating a successful sales week and met for drinks at the Angel on the Bridge pub both before and after going for a meal at the Spice Merchant restaurant in Thames Side.
Mr Redding told his friends that he wanted to prove he could swim across the river and they watched him enter the water from Red Lion Lawn and followed his progress.
When he reached the third arch of Henley Bridge he got into difficulty and suddenly disappeared.
The alarm was raised and a police helicopter was called out to search the river. Mr Redding’s body was recovered by a specialist search and rescue team at 10am the next day.
Mr Redding, who grew up in Gallowstree Common and attended Peppard primary, Chiltern Edge School and The Henley College, had celebrated his birthday three days earlier.
His mother Teresa Beddis said: “Peter was chatting about a friend who had swum across the river and he wondered whether he could do it.
“He lowered himself into the water and his friends took his clothes to the other side of the river for him.
“He got to the third arch and although he was swimming strongly, he wasn’t going anywhere and he disappeared under the water.
“Peter made the wrong decision — he wasn’t drunk.” Mrs Beddis, who used to be a textiles teacher at RupertHouse School in Bell Street, thanked police for their efforts.
She described her son as “an absolute star”, adding: “He was really happy and settled — everything was going well. He will be truly missed.”
Mr Redding, a guitarist who played with many local bands, lived with his partner Rachel Wyel, 45, and her daughter Abbey, nine.
They left a Peter Rabbit cuddly toy at the railings on Red Lion Lawn and a note which read: “We will always love you and never forget.”
His sister Cara, 26, left flowers and a note which read: “I will miss your wit and smile and your positive outlook.”
Another tribute, from Vicki, said: “Goodbye Pete (Reg). Such a kind friend through school, I’m glad I got to know you again.”
A statement released on behalf of the family on Monday described Mr Redding as a “very popular” member of the community.
It said: “Peter was passionate about music and was a talented musician who, over the years, had played in many bands on the Reading music scene.
“Former band members talk of the beautiful lyrics the accomplished songwriter wrote and friends have flooded partner Rachel, mother Teresa and her husband David with condolences and happy memories they shared with Peter.
“Peter was a warm, loving individual who had lots of friends in Reading and Gallowstree Common, where he grew up. His family and partner are understandably devastated.”
Mr Redding, who had carried an organ donor card since he was 16, donated his cornea and heart valves.
Police are not treating the death as suspicious and the Oxfordshire coroner has opened and adjourned an inquest.
A funeral service will be held at Stoke Row Churchat 11.15am on Tuesday for family and friends. This will be followed by a wake at the Kidmore End sports pavilion in Gallowstree Common.
The family have requested donations be made to Breast Cancer Care at www.memory giving.com/peterredding