A TRIBUTE to a baby boy whose smile would “melt hearts” will be unveiled this Saturday.

The people of Radcliffe have raised money to install a lasting memorial to 11-month-old Zakari William Bennett-Eko in Kenyon Community Gardens, close to where the he lived.

Family will gather for the short ceremony with the youngster's granddad Andrew Blood expected to say a few words.

As well as to friends of the family, Zakari's family have also invited the community of Radcliffe to celebrate his life.

Louise Dawson, who helped to organise the lasting tribute, said: "The people of Radcliffe raised £545 towards the memorial.

"It will be unveiled with Zakari's family present.

"The family are so overwhelmed with the support they have received from the people of Radcliffe.

"They are bearing up and carrying on as they best as they can."

Zakari died after he was rescued from the River Irwell in Radcliffe in September.

His tragic death shocked the community, with dozens of people gathering in Radcliffe just days after his death in an huge outpouring of grief.

Adults and children made donations to fund the memorial in the baby's names.

Louise said: "Zakari's death shocked so many that the needed something like the gathering to be able to pay their respects.

"This memorial is a celebration of his life and to show he will never be forgotten."

The unveiling will take place at 3pm at Kenyon Community Gardens off Milltown Street.

Zakari died after he was rescued from the water near to Blackburn Bridge, Radcliffe.

Emergency services attended and the baby boy was retrieved from the water and quickly taken to hospital, where he died a short time later despite the efforts of paramedics and specialist doctors.

Paying tribute to him shortly after his death, Zakari’s mum Emma Blood, said: “Zakari was my life for 11 months and will be the heart of our family for many years to come.

“He was a cheeky little chappie with a smile that melted hearts. He was the youngest of five generations of our family and was loved beyond belief.

“Zakari wrapped everyone around his little finger.

"He was a happy and content baby with a gorgeous little smile and a head full of curls. Everyone that met him fell in love with him instantly.

“It’s hard to comprehend what has happened and that I will not get to see my baby grow up to be the handsome decent man I knew he would become.

“My family and I would like to thank everybody for their continued support, it is very much appreciated."