Anthony Knott’s fiancée backs petition calling for better safety measures near river after firefighter’s death

The fiancée of firefighter Anthony Knott whose body was tragically recovered from the River Ouse in Newhaven on Friday has backed a petition calling for better safety measures near the river.

Thursday, 16th January 2020, 10:58 am

The 33-year-old, from Orpington in Kent, went missing during a night out in Lewes on Friday, December 20.

Specialist teams carried out extensive searches with support from volunteers and other emergency services.

Anthony Knott and fiancee Lucy Otto. Photo courtesy of family

In a post on Facebook on Friday, Anthony’s sister-in-law Leoonie Marsh Williams issued a heartfelt statement on behalf of his family.

The firefighter’s tragic story touched the hearts of Lewesians and thousands across the country.

A ‘ride of respect’ is being held in Lewes in honour of him.

A group has been set up on Facebook. It reads: “Welcome to the group – Ride Of Respect – In honour of Anthony Knott. A father, a fiancé, a brother, a son, and a firefighter.

Anthony Knott's body was tragically recovered from the River Ouse at Newhaven. Photo courtesy of family

“Respect, Solidarity, dignity and gratitude is what this group is about •

“We are all here to come together to show our support to Anthony’s family, friends and colleagues.

“This monumental event will be conducted with grace, respect, dignity, support and love...”

A date has not yet been set for the ride.

Anthony Knott went missing during a night out in Lewes. Picture: Sussex Police


A petition, set up by Claire Packham, asks East Sussex County Council to ‘make the River Ouse safer to stop people falling in and any accidents – not only people but animals too and most importantly deaths’.

It calls for fencing for better safety precautions, lighting, man-made floodplain channels, stronger river banks, flood gates and cameras.

Claire Packham writes: “I know we are asking for such a big thing in Lewes but we have to do something we are losing too many people in the River Ouse, our most recent being one of our firemen Anthony knott.

“We have to try and get this done so we can at least say we have tried our hardest. Please sign and share.”

Anthony’s fiancée Lucy Otto is among 2,622 people who have signed the petition.

She said on Facebook: “Please sign, this river is dangerous and completely open. No one should have to go through the pain we are, this river needs a flood barrier and more lighting to stop this ever happening again. Their needs to be more safety in place around open rivers so easily accessible to the public.”

In response, an East Sussex County Council spokesman said: “We were very saddened to hear the news about Mr Knott and would like to extend our sympathy to his family.

“While this petition is directed at us, the Environment Agency is the body responsible for rivers and riverbanks and we’d be happy to pass the petition on to them.

“If as a result of the coroner’s inquest there are any recommendations for the county council that fall in our area of responsibility, we will of course consider them in the normal way.”