Those behind a fund set up in memory of a Kettering boy who drowned while on holiday are hoping to create a “lasting legacy”.
The Dylan Cecil Memorial Fund was officially launched at the end of last week, with a race night at Kettering Town Football Club raising more than £1,200.
Dylan was just four when he fell into the sea while playing on a jetty in Burnham-on-Sea, Somerset, in August 2012.
Despite desperate rescue attempts by his parents – Darren Cecil and Rachel McCollum – and the emergency services, Dylan’s body was not found until four days later.
Since his death several fundraisers have been held, with the fund being started last year ahead of its official launch last week.
The fund was the brainchild of Burnham business and tourism manager Ian Jefferies, who formed a relationship with the Cecil family as a rescue officer for the coastguard.
It will provide under-privileged children and their families with respite holidays in the Burnham-on-Sea area – with one family from the county having already benefited thanks to a link-up with the Kettering Lions.
Mr Jefferies said: “Because I built such a strong relationship with the family, I just thought we should do something.
“I am a tourism officer for Burnham-on-Sea as well and the negative impact that gave on our town was a contributing factor.
“The idea of the charity is to bring comfort to the family but also to help other people along the way.
“Rachel and Darren’s little girls were old enough to know what happened and they talk about Dylan.
“I want that legacy to go on so that no-one forgets him and that’s the main aim of it all.
“We have got money already in the bank to take it forward but we want it as a lasting legacy.
“It’s the communities of Burnham and Kettering coming together to do something good.”
Chairman of the service committee for Kettering Lions David Wagg said: “We were approached by the fund who asked us if we knew of any family, particularly a young carer who needed a holiday and we wanted to get involved.
“We contacted the Young Carers Association in Wellingborough and they came up with a suitable family.
“It was all set up, everything was a success and the young girl, who was caring for her mother, went with her and another carer to Burnham and had a great time.
“I hope this is a successful venture.”
Dylan’s grandad, John Cecil, who has been at the heart of getting the charity off the ground, was delighted with the response last week.
He said: “It was a great turnout on Friday from friends, family and a lot of people who have been the making of what is in the fund.
“With Ian being there as well, hopefully this is the start of what we are hoping to achieve.
“It’s all been groundwork, we are learning on our feet. But it is fulfilling because it is keeping Dylan’s memory alive.
“We have so many people backing us and we know he won’t be forgotten.”