THE FAMILY of two brothers who drowned while swimming off the coast of a Lancashire beach have paid a heartfelt thank you to the community for their support.

Muhammed Azhar Shabbir, 18 and Ali-Athar Shabbir, 16, died after getting into difficulty in the water close to St Annes pier on August 15.

A rescue investigation was launched but sadly, the brothers from Dewsbury were found a day later around a mile away from the pier.

 A statement, on behalf of Muhammad-Azhar and Ali-Athar's parents said: “Mr and Mrs Shabbir and their family want to express their greatest thanks and appreciation to everyone that helped them that day.

“This includes the emergency services, Lytham St Annes RNLI, the Southport Lifeboat crew, the Coastguard, police on duty that day, Beth and her husband, who went into the sea to try and find their boys, other members of the public who tried to help them, staff at St Annes Travelodge and the receptionist who paid for additional family that arrived the next day to stay.

“Mr and Mrs Shabbir would also like to thank people in their community, including the schools, for their continuous support with their other children, local Mosque Masjid Uthman, who helped accommodate guests and keep within the social distancing rules, the Fisabilillah Burial service which is also a volunteer and donation run service, neighbours who have put donations together for the RNLI, Muhammad-Azhar and Ali-Athar's friends who also put together donations to build wells for people without access to water in Muhammed-Azhar and Ali-Athar’s names."