Walsall nursery pays tribute to 'precious boy' who died in canal fall tragedy

The head of the nursery school where little Madiba Diaby was a pupil has described him as a "precious boy" who will be sadly missed after his tragic death.

Madiba Diaby died after falling into the canal at Razorbill Way
Madiba Diaby died after falling into the canal at Razorbill Way

The four-year-old died in hospital after falling into the Wyrley and Essington Canal off Razorbill Way in Harden, Walsall, on Friday afternoon despite efforts to save him.

It is thought he was visiting the home of friends of the family in the area, once known as Shakespeare Crescent, shortly before the alarm was raised.

Madiba was a pupil at Valley Nursery School, in Blakenall, where shocked staff and parents have been paying tribute and rallying around to support the family and his classmates.

Valley Nursery's head Dawn Kelly said: "All the staff here have been devastated by the shocking news. Madiba was a precious boy.

"He was a lovely, joyful child who enjoyed life and who will be missed by all of us.

"We offer our heartfelt condolences to the family and to those staff who cared for him.

"His death has been deeply emotional and sad for us at the school.

"We have written to our parents to inform them that he passed away and they have been sending messages back stating that they will help Madiba's family in whatever way they can.

"We have been absolutely overwhelmed by the support we've had in the school. Offers have come in from the public, community groups based in the area, the church and from our parents.

"The community's response has been fantastic in the way that people come together to offer support."

Miss Kelly said the community would be providing practical support and that school representatives were due to discuss was would be required with Madiba's devastated parents Maryam Dbassi, 29, and Sankoumba Diaby, 56.

Tributes have been left near the canal

Miss Dbassi, 29 and of Coalpool, described her son as a "good, happy boy" who loved going to nursery, playing with toy cars and splashing in water.

Well-wishers have been visiting the scene of the incident next to a play area off Turnstone Way to leave tributes in his memory.

Items including teddy bears, bunches of flowers and cards have been placed near the spot where Madiba was brought out of the water by the emergency services shortly after midday on Friday.

Sadly, despite efforts to save him, he died shortly after arriving in hospital.

Several residents in the street near where he was found have spoken of their disbelief that the tragedy had taken place on their doorsteps.

Melody Muzfa, 45, a nurse, said: "I feel so sorry for the parents. I'd like to pay my condolences to the family. My heart goes out to them.

"No one living down here knows what happened or how he got into the water."

Aleksandra Bal, 20, a warehouse operative, said: "I was at home on Friday afternoon, but somehow I didn't see or hear anyone shouting for help or I would have ran outside to help in some way.

"All the residents have been talking about it. It's a really shocking thing to have happened. We're really sad about it."

Another resident, who did not want to be named, said: "I was making lunch when I saw several police cars going past. I couldn't leave the house because I have young children.

"I went upstairs to look outside the bedroom window to see what was going on and I saw them bring the little boy up to the grass.

"We've put some toys on the grass. We've been very touched and saddened by it.

"I've got a son who is that same age and that makes you think about things. We're thinking about putting an extra lock on the front door to prevent him from opening it and getting out without us being aware of it."

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