Dylan’s family will return to town every year...

PUBLISHED: 12:30 31 August 2012


THE father of a four-year-old boy who drowned after being swept out to sea says he and his family can finally grieve now that his body has been returned to them.

Dylan Cecil’s body was found near the yacht club in Burnham on Thursday, four days after the youngster went missing when he slipped off the town’s jetty while playing with his family.

His father, Darren Cecil, immediately plunged into the water to save him but also became caught in the strong currents and had to be pulled out by passers-by and emergency services.

Darren has now told the Mercury how, after days of anxiously waiting on Burham’s seafront for rescue teams to find Dylan, he and his family can finally have closure on the traumatic incident.

He also said the family has pledged to return to the place Dylan disappeared every year in memory of the youngster.

Darren said: “We are just happy that he’s back with us. It was terrible not knowing where he was.

“Now we can take him home, and that’s a big relief.

“It’s a bit of closure and we can start to grieve properly now, rather than not know where he was. It’s better than not knowing.”

A large-scale search and recovery operation was launched after Dylan went missing on the evening of August 19.

He had been playing with his parents and younger sisters, who were visiting family from Kettering, when he slipped off the jetty and was dragged under the water by the strong currents.

His mother, Rachel McCollum, also attempted to rescue Dylan soon after Darren dived into the water but both were pulled out after about 20 minutes of searching.

Despite teams from BARB, the RNLI and the coastguard tirelessly searching the waters throughout the night and into the following day, the search was postponed on the morning of August 20 and eventually called off the same evening.

Darren and his family left Burnham to return to their home town on Tuesday, when their son’s body was released by the coroner.

He said: “We plan to return to Burnham on the anniversary of Dylan’s death, this is something I want to do. At six o’clock, on that Sunday, every year. This will be a time to remember him.

“As for family holidays, his gran and granddad live here so obviously we will come back, but I will not go back on that sand ever again.

“We still want to give a massive thanks to all the emergency services that came to help.

“And also to all of the community for their support. We cannot believe how good the support has been and how much the community has come together for us, and that’s really been a comfort.”

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