Sussex

Dylan Alkins search: Queen meets lifeboat crews

The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh in Newhaven
Image caption The Queen spoke to lifeboat crews during a visit to Newhaven in East Sussex
The Queen at the new youth hostel in the South Downs
Image caption The Queen received a curtsey during her tour of a youth hostel in the South Downs

The Queen has met lifeboat crews who searched for a boy swept out to sea in "atrocious conditions" hours before a storm battered Britain.

Dylan Alkins, 14, had been playing at the shore with friends at Newhaven's West Beach on Sunday.

Police teams were continuing to search the coastline from Beachy Head to Peacehaven on Thursday.

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh met crews at Newhaven RNLI as part of a number of engagements in East Sussex.

'Cloud over town'

Speaking before he met the royal couple, RNLI coxswain Paul Legendre said of the search for Dylan: "We did our best in the circumstances.

Image caption Dylan was swept out to sea from Newhaven's West Beach on Sunday

"We didn't achieve what we wanted to achieve by rescuing him but I couldn't have asked any more from the volunteer crew who worked in terrible conditions."

The royal couple also met local fisherman and their customers during a tour of facilities at West Quay Fisheries in Newhaven.

Ian Bickerstaff, 59, the owner of the firm, said: "It's a privilege for me and my girls, as it's a family-run business, and it's our 40th year next year.

"The only sad thing is there is a cloud over the town with the loss of the young boy this week."

Dylan was last seen playing in the surf about 30ft (10m) from the shore at 16:15 GMT on Sunday. None of his friends was injured.

Sussex Police said an immediate and an intensive search involving police, coastguard and the Newhaven in-shore lifeboat followed in "atrocious conditions".

As part of their visit to the area, the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh also officially opened a new 68-bed youth hostel in the South Downs National Park.

They met staff and Duke of Edinburgh Award students at the centre before the queen unveiled a plaque to mark the occasion.

The royal party also visited Harvey's Brewery in Lewes for lunch, and a local archive centre in Brighton that is due to open to the public later this year.

Brewery chairman Hamish Elder said: "The Duke was extremely knowledgeable about the process. I was astounded by the complexity of his questions.

"He really knew his stuff."

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