It was poignant, emotional and a tribute to a life cut tragically short.
Around 200 people gathered in a village church on the island of Anglesey yesterday to remember 12-year-old Isaac Nash, claimed by the sea on a family holiday.
As family, friends and complete strangers remembered Isaac, it emerged that 53 years ago to that fateful day – August 29 – another young man, Dafyyd Roberts, also lost his life after being swept out to sea from the same beach.
Yesterday some of the same locals gathered together at St Beunos Church in Aberffraw to celebrate popular Isaac’s short but packed life.
Isaac’s father Adam, 35, told the audience, which included members of the Holyhead Coastguard, North Wales Police and RNLI, that his son’s life had been a high-octane affair.
Frequently breaking down in tears, the father-of-three told them how his son always left an indelible impression on those he met.
He said: “Firstly it’s a big thank you. It’s a very simple word but it’s heartfelt. My wife and children just want to thank everyone here and certainly everyone who has been looking for him.
“The way you have supported and cared for us has been first rate. Your generosity and sensitivity and warmth will not be forgotten.
“Together you have got us through this, the first few weeks and give us the strength in years to come.”
His emotions got the better of him as he described how he, Isaac and his 10-year-old son Xander had shared a special ‘father and sons’ moment, linking arms in the mist at the top of Mount Snowden the day before tragedy struck.
That way he said they could not be blown off.
Adam said: “Our grief is tremendous but our love is bigger. We are grieving our son’s death. We loved him truly.
“We are severely scarred. Isaac had an inquisitive and purposeful mind. An active and challenging body.
“He was better than me. He was built to achieve great things.”
Adam described Isaac’s great love of sport and how he excelled at rugby, cricket, taekwondo and running.
Isaac won the Yorkshire championship in taekwondo recently and Adam said: “I am so proud that he passed on his skills to others.
“Isaac and his brother Xander, 10, were ‘wrestle-mates’ and intensely protective of each other.
“Seeing how we have all come together makes me so proud. We will make it through this.
“Anglesey has always been a great spiritual place. When my wife and I suffered a car accident the first place we came was here.”
Xander melted everyone’s hearts as he strode up to the lectern to read his own tribute to his older brother.
“Isaac was the best brother,” he said. “He was a great sportsman and did something every night. He would have been a champion but he was always my champion. I loved my brother and I always will.”
The Rev Elizabeth Roberts read out Isaac’s mother Zoe’s tribute to her son.
Zoe said: “He was born on Friday, March 1 and he took three days to arrive but when he did he arrived quickly and made a large impression. Always late but leaving a lasting impression.
“In his 12 years he fitted so much in. He ran away from a policeman in New York, well he was only two-and-a-half-years-old, and diving with sharks in Egypt.”
The Rev Canon Emlyn Williams, who led the service, paid tribute to the family and said: “I am sure you will agree with me the family have been very brave.
“You have brought the community of Aberffraw together.”
A huge round of applause was then heard and the family left for the short journey to the village hall where they met people from the service.
Earlier they had lit candles at the church in Isaac’s memory.
Mr Williams introduced the service by saying: “We come not to mourn but to celebrate Isaac’s life.
“We are taking part in something that is beyond understanding.”
Afterwards, one mourner, Hughie Hughes, 77, from Aberffraw, recalled the tragedy from 53 years ago.
“I remember it happening,” he said. “Dafyyd was about the same age as Isaac. That area can be a very dangerous place for people to swim.”
Isaac, who attended Kirkburton Middle School, was with dad Adam, brother Xander and grandfather Paul when the tragedy happened.
Adam and Paul bravely tried to save the two boys but Isaac slipped from Paul’s grasp and was swept out to sea.
Despite an intensive search his body has not been found.