Published: August 21, 2012
Four year-old Dylan Cecil was a 'bubbly, lovely child' says family

The devastated family of a four-year-boy who went missing in the sea after slipping off Burnham-On-Sea's jetty on Sunday evening have described him as a "bubbly, lovely" child.

Dylan Cecil's parents frantically tried to rescue him on Sunday evening after he slipped off the town's jetty into the sea, but were unable to reach him.

The youngster had wanted to get a closer look at the sea and went onto the jetty with his parents, Rachel McCollum and Darren Cecil, and his two younger sisters, aged one and three, at about 6pm.

The family, from Kettering in Northamptonshire, were visiting Ms McCollum's parents, who live locally, and who today said they could not have wished for a better grandson.

Following Dylan's parents' desperate efforts to save their son the couple had to be pulled from the water by passers-by and treated for water ingestion.

Speaking in front of a large number of floral tributes on the town's Esplanade, Dylan's grandparents said they wanted to thank everyone involved in the rescue effort.

Jackie McCollum said: "Rachel, our daughter, and Darren came up Friday with the kids, they were going back today and we were going to have the kids until Friday."

"We always had them for a week and would spoil them and Dylan always called us seaside nanny and granddad."

"He loved coming up to see us, he loved the seaside. He was a bubbly, bubbly, lovely kid. He was our only grandson. We've got five granddaughters, but he was our only grandson."

David McCollum said: "We couldn't have wished for a grandson any better. I just want to give thanks to everybody who has helped in the search mission and tried to get Dylan back for us. I can't say thank you enough really. We're all just devastated."

Superintendent Keith McCoubrey, of Avon and Somerset Police, pictured right with Coastguard Tris Newey, said the family had been down on the beach playing with their three young children.

"At some point, Dylan wanted to go and see the sea, get a bit closer to it, and they went out on the jetty here, and unfortunately Dylan slipped off the edge and went under the water," said Supt McCoubrey.

"At this time of year the tides here are very fast-flowing and the undercurrents are quite strong; unfortunately Dylan didn't re-surface. Both his mum and dad entered the water immediately to try and recover Dylan, without success."

"The parents were in the water for quite a few minutes and they actually had to be pulled from the water by passers-by."

"At that point a large-scale search and rescue operation was launched, co-ordinated here by my colleagues in the Coastguard."

Coastguards, lifeboats, hovercrafts, police and helicopters were all involved in the search operation which continued through Sunday night until Monday at 4.30pm when it was called off.


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