THE mother of a kayaker who went missing a year ago today has spoken of her devastation over his disappearance.
Shane Smith was with his brothers and pals on the beach next to Seaham’s North Dock when he capsized a short distance out to sea.
Despite his family’s searches, which stretched from Whitley Bay to Redcar, and rescue efforts by the emergency services, the 30-year-old, from Dawdon, has never been found.
Now, on the anniversary of his disappearance, his mother Pearl and sister Kimberley have spoken of the distress the loss has caused.
Pearl, 54, who remains sure her son lies just off the coast, says she cannot move on until his body is found.
She said: “I know he’s trapped down there, but I look at every day as if he isn’t because, if I start to thinking, psychologically, he’s gone, it would rip me apart.
“It’s just a case of somebody getting him out or his body to the surface.
“I’m full of depression tablets. I’m going to counselling. It’s torn our family to pieces.”
Shane’s loved ones return to the seafront every few days to keep watch and lay flowers and were planning to gather with friends today for a day-long vigil.
The Facebook page, Help Us Find Missing Kayaker Shane Smith, which has more than 1,600 members, is also used to post messages.
Speaking on the clifftops near to where her son went into the water, Pearl added: “I post what’s been going on and I come down here and talk to him about more personal things.”
Kimberley was pregnant with her second child Katie, now 10 months, when the tragedy happened.
The 21-year-old, who is also mum to one-year-old John, said: “I know for a fact he would have loved her. He would have been Uncle Shane.
“I know he’s dead because if he wasn’t he would have come back. He’s a family man.
“I just want him to come in and give me a cuddle.
“He was a lovely man. He didn’t deserve it.”
The family, which also includes Shane’s dad Guy, 59, brothers Guy, 36, and Philip, 26, and sister Tracy, 24, have been upset by rumours Shane is still alive and living in properties in Dawdon.
A holidaymaker from the area also called police to say they had seen a man who looked like Shane in a bar in Tenerife, but detectives ruled that out along with other lines of inquiry.
His family have met psychics as they search for answers and are campaigning for safety notices to be put up on the beach.