Published: August 26, 2012
Over 400 attend Burnham church service in memory of Dylan Cecil

More than 400 people attended a church service in Burnham-On-Sea on Sunday evening (August 26th) to commemorate the life of Dylan Cecil, the four year-old boy who died after falling into the sea from the town's jetty a week ago.

The youngster's family were joined by members of the local community and rescue services for the service of 'thanksgiving for Dylan's life' in St Andrew's Church, which was led by Reverend Graham Witts.

Readings were given by representatives of BARB and the RNLI, and Dylan's favourite song, The Lazy Song by Bruno Mars, was also played during the service.

In his tribute to Dylan, Reverend Witts said: "Dylan John David Cecil was Darren and Rachel’s oldest child and a much-loved grandson and older brother to Faith and Alice. He was a beautiful looking child from the photos we have seen, but look closely and you can see a face with an impish smile that would – and did - melt any parents and grand-parents hearts. But you will also see an open smile and a look of trust in his eyes."

"Dylan attended nursery but as he was shy around those beyond his immediate family found this a difficult experience. However, among his own family and the wider family, he found a ready audience for his own brand of humour and entertainment. He was, as Rachel has described, 'a very bubbly child'. He enjoyed a joke with his family."

"He loved music and a favourite song of his was The Lazy Song by Bruno Mars. He used to whistle along to this and when he wasn’t listening to this - he was singing songs such as ‘Hello, Hello we are the Kettering Boys’. Darren, his dad, is a keen Kettering Town Football Club supporter and that is where Dylan’s loyalties also lay."

"He had an enjoyment of cartoons and computer characters such as Super Mario and Sonic the Hedgehog , The Angry Birds and a pirate character from the Disney Channel."

"Dylan was lucky to have a close-knit family and they did so much together from the mundane things like shopping to the more enjoyable and fun things like coming to Burnham to see grandparents. It was not surprising, therefore, that Dylan was
with his mum and dad and sisters when the tragic accident happened."

"Playing and enjoying each other’s company was a simple pleasure they were enjoying – and which ended so abruptly last Sunday. It is a tribute to you both – Rachel and Darren - that you both went into the water, no doubt an instinctive thing to do, but which was potentially dangerous to your own lives."

"For you, there will be many times and no doubt have when the small, persistent and annoying question 'what if...' will make its way inside your heads."

"Our experience as people in this town – and visitors this week - cannot come anywhere near your own feelings and grief. However, a tragedy such as this affects everyone – and so we have all shared in the rollercoaster of emotions, hopes and fears. We have shared in something of those feelings, with the hopes and prayers of many that Dylan’s body would be found and returned to you to help you in your loss."

"So your own private grief and loss has been shared in part by members of this community, both also by those involved directly in the rescue and recovery operations."

"Dylan's death has touched everyone living here and visiting here. This fact is witnessed by the sheer number of flowers and tributes left at the top of the jetty. They are expressions of concern – compassion – and a recognition that we all feel
powerless and impotent to do anything more in the light of this tragedy. It is a recognition that we have wanted to have done more but are incapable and unable and that we are not so much in control of life as we so often would like to think."

"More than once this week I have looked out to sea and imagined Dylan out there – alone. I’ve asked 'where are you'. Thank God we now have an answer to that question – and in due course Dylan will be laid to rest in Kettering, his home."

"All of these emotions following such a tragedy – denial anger and, yes, depression – have affected us all to some extent – and they may stay for some time to come. So be gentle – especially with yourselves – and with one another. There is no 'one size fits all' when it comes to our reactions to facing death. We therefore have to allow each other – in the family and in this community and in Kettering to work through our grief and to be tolerant of others who are working through it in differing ways to ourselves."

"And, on behalf of the family, who have recognised the role of the emergency services already through the media and our local website and would like to publicly acknowledge the role of the emergency services, the Coastguard, BARB and the RNLI."

"Many of us see you on practice nights and Sunday mornings. Practicing – possibly worst case scenario’s – well this week has seen that you can respond to these theoretical cases. This week has been the pay of for all that dedication and
hard work. The very worst that you have practiced for in theory – has become a lived reality – and we are grateful that you have shown your very best in your service, dedication and compassion."

"So, thank you, and if at some point over the winter on a rain-swept training session you ask yourself 'Why am I doing this to myself', just one word is all you need – DYLAN. There will be no more reasons needed – and no excuses to offer."

"And, finally, faith in God is not an escape route from the harsh realities we have had to face as a community and you as a family have had to face this past week. The Christian faith does not allow us to go off into some sort of spiritual Peter Pan Never - Neverland where to quote the fairy story 'we shall all live happily ever after'."

"What we do know based on the early church and its own experience of suffering as described in our first reading is that they and therefore we need never feel separated from God and therefore all that Dylan meant and was is not separated from us. All that he was as a Son, a Grandson and Brother and cheeky imp – he remains – not only in our memory but in Spirit – by God’s good grace. Dylan may you rest in Peace and rise in God’s glory."


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