A community united in sorrow last night in tribute to Isaac Nash.
The 12-year-old Isaac was swept away in the sea off the coast of Anglesey on Friday afternoon despite frantic rescue efforts by his father, Adam and grandfather Paul, to save him.
News of the popular Kirkburton Middle School pupil’s disappearance has shocked his friends and the wider community – and around 1,000 people gathered at Highburton Recreation ground last night.
As people arrived they spilled on to the field and began lighting Chinese lanterns before releasing them into the sky as dusk started to fall.
Others had brought balloons of all colours and sizes which culminated in a moving backdrop above the assembled crowds.
Isaac’s grandmother, Suzanna Lewis, said: “He was not only handsome, it was his wonderful warm happy personality, so mature for his age.
“The beautiful thing about Isaac was his love of life, his energy and vitality. He lived life to the full.
“Isaac was so loved by his mates and they are struggling to come to terms with the loss. We are so lucky to live in a village where people are so close and supportive.”
Isaac’s grandfather Howard Lewis also brought his grandson’s scooter and skateboard which were accompanied by lanterns and a photo of Isaac with a beaming smile.
Howard said: “It’s absolutely astonishing what his mates have done in such a short space of time to pay tribute to Isaac.
“They’ve organised this which just shows how much they cared for him.
“The turnout is overwhelming. It’s been freelance, no-one has said any speeches, it’s all been led by the kids.”
Mandy and Mick Lockwood’s son Joe helped organise the memorial. Mick said: “If you just look at the turnout it. He was so full of life, a hell of a character.
“You can see the amount of people who thought of him. Such a big part of the community, he was into football and cricket.”
Mandy added: We’ve known him since he was six years old. It’s just unimaginable for him to not be here.”
Joe and his friend Hayden Charlesworth spoke on behalf of all the school boys who helped organise the event in his memory.
Hayden said: “He was such a funny guy. Mischievous and cheeky. He had an infectious laugh. He used to tell jokes and then laugh himself which would make everybody laugh more. He had the best smile.
“We’ve known him since we were six and go to the same school. He was really clever, in the top set for everything. He loved sport.”
Pals Patrick O’Leary and Logan Sykes added: “He won the school cross country the last two years and he would have won it this year – no-one could beat him. He was such a good runner.
“He loved cricket and football.
“We want to rename the school cross country in his memory and hold a charity football tournament on his birthday.”
Also at the event, a group of friends, said: “He was a gorgeous boy. It’s just unreal. I don’t think people can take it all in. We just want to do as much as we can to support his family.”
Sally Viner and friends said: “His grandma is a close friend of ours so we wanted to come to support her and her family. Isaac was her world, her everything.
“This is a very close knit village and it is shown by the number of people who have come tonight.”