THE family of Declan Edwards have thanked the ‘wonderful people’ of Burnley for their ‘truly amazing’ help in searching for the 16-year-old.

Declan went missing on Sunday, May 4, after he was last seen by a friend in Towneley Park.

During the week hundreds of residents helped search for the Unity College pupil before police discovered his body in woodland near Rowley Lake at around 4pm last Thursday.

In a statement paying tribute to Declan, his family said: “Declan’s mum Mandy, dad Christopher, sister Jessica and the rest of the family would like to thank the wonderful people from Burnley and the surrounding areas.

“The way the whole town pulled together to help search for Declan was truly amazing.

“We also appreciate all of the fundraising events that are taking place. This will help us set up a permanent memorial in Declan’s honour.”

On Friday morning Christopher and Mandy joined Declan’s Year 11 friends at Unity College for a special assembly paying tribute to the popular school prefect.

Now they have called on those students to make Declan proud and return the ‘best exam results possible’.

They said: “We would also like to thank all of the staff and pupils at Unity College, their continued support is greatly appreciated.

“We would now ask that all Year 11 pupils make Declan proud by returning the best exam results possible.

“Declan was the light of our lives and we hope that our privacy will be respected during this very difficult time.”

Last week Unity College head teacher Sally Cryer also paid tribute to Declan.

She said: “Declan was a charismatic, larger-than-life character. He excelled in sport, was an excellent prefect at Unity College and had great leadership skills.

“Declan was extremely popular with all students and staff and he was due to achieve excellent GCSE results this summer.”

Declan's funeral will be held at St Catherine's Church, in Todmorden Road, Burnley, on Saturday at 10am.