14/08/2014 12:55 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Emotional Tribute To Teen Swept Out To Sea In St. Jude Storm

Friends of Dylan Alkins gather on West Beach in Newhaven, East Sussex, where the 14 year old vanished while playing in the surf on Sunday.

The parents of a 14-year-old who was swept out to sea during the St. Jude storm have paid tribute to their 'amazing boy' and spoke about being 'totally crushed' by his loss.

Dylan Alkins vanished while playing in the surf with friends at West Beach in Newhaven, East Sussex, on Sunday afternoon.

As efforts continue to try to find his body, his parents Danny Alkins and Amy Kattenhorn have spoken for the first time about their son.

Mr Alkins said Dylan would 'be sadly missed and never ever forgotten'.

Ms Kattenhorn, meanwhile, said: "I will hold on to Dylan forever in my heart."

In a statement released through Sussex Police, Mr Alkins said: "My son Dylan was an amazing boy, full of character, a very cheeky and loveable, talented young man. He will be sadly missed and never ever forgotten.

"To me it feels like I have lost half my life. Myself, his three younger brothers and step-mum are totally crushed by what has happened. It will never be the same for us.

"My boy was taken far too young. Heartbroken. I just want him back. I would appreciate me and my family need time to grieve in peace."

Ms Kattenhorn added: "No words can describe how I am feeling at this devastating time. My first-born son has been stolen from me and I am completely and utterly devastated by this tragic accident.

"I will hold on to Dylan forever in my heart and I have the best and amazing memories of him that nobody can ever take away from me.

"He was an amazing boy and will be sadly missed by all of his family and friends. I would be grateful if I could be left alone to grieve in peace at this difficult and heartbreaking time.

"It's not goodbye, it's till we meet again."

A Sussex Police spokesman said the search for Dylan continues, with a further sweep of the coastline from Beachy Head to Peacehaven by police helicopter.

Witnesses said that Dylan was among several teenagers who had been playing around on the beach as wind speeds were whipped up by the St Jude storm.