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A Boy I Once Knew

By Debbie Turnbull
May 2007, Conwy
A digital story from Capture Wales

"Chris was the World's Greatest. A lover of life with an inquisitive and adventurous mind. A legend. He was also my fifteen year old son.

On 14th August 2006 Chris drowned at Lligwy Falls, Capel Curig whilst playing with friends - it was the day hell hit home.

Chris had played here before, however this weekend a heavy rainfall had created a large waterfall and a deep icy whirlpool had formed from the rushing water from the top of the mountains. Exciting and inviting for someone like Chris - the dare, the thrill, the thumbs up and he was gone. He never resurfaced.

A strong, handsome young man, an excellent swimmer, rugby player, leader and a good friend. On this fatal day no one could save him. One of his close friends tried but the current prevailed. After a lengthy search a team of divers retrieved his body at 7.03 that evening.

Precious memories, his three Welsh feathers gold necklace which was found with him, a lock of his ebony black hair and some personal effects - all of which now are priceless.

I cried until my tears ran dry. I ached so much I thought I would die. I counted every rainbow that came at a time when I needed him close. I walk to Angel Bay, another of his favourite places, to look for my angel and find peace.

Comfort came from close friends with large shoulders to cry on. An amazing Medium named Margaret who gave me strength and hope, and many spiritual messages, incredible facts and a deep understanding that touched my very soul. Belief that Chris has moved on to better things.

Now I fund raise extensively in my son's name with passion and pride for the emergency services. My aim is to educate school children as to the dangers of water to help prevent this terrible tragedy happening again.

I will never be a proud Mum at his wedding, a mother-in-law or a granny.

I had my son for 15, almost 16 wonderful years. I thank my husband for that most precious gift. His grief is so silent but his pain is so strong.

Christopher James David Turnbull, you're the World's greatest."

Please tell us a little about yourself.
I am 48 years old and live with my husband John in Rhos-on-Sea.

What's your story about?
It's about my darling son Christopher, who drowned at age 15 at Pont Cynffig Falls, Capel Curig in North Wales. It explains how much my son means to me and how I cope with his loss, the effect it has on myself, my family and his wonderful friends.

Why did you choose to tell this particular story?
It's my intention to work and educate youngsters across north Wales and indeed nationally eventually, on the dangers of water. My son was the most loving, generous and genuine person. He gave of himself totally and has many devoted friends. There is an amazing bond between us.

What did you find most rewarding about the workshop?
The whole experience was fantastic - and although very emotional and draining, I am so proud to have finished the story. It has helped me also not to be afraid of computers - so much so that I intend to take further courses and indeed write more stories digitally.

Your comments

"What a fantastic tribute to your beloved son! I think you are so brave for putting your story out there for people like me to benefit from. I hope you used this project as a healing tool for yourself and I know that your son is grateful that you did this for him. It is stories like this that make you want to appreciate everyone in your life who you love and who loves you in return. Your story was touching and I want to thank you for creating it because I feel so lucky to have found and viewed it!" Jennifer - Ontario, Canda.

"I have enjoyed listening to your story. I feel for you at the loss of your son but it has made me realize just how important it is to love my children while they are with me. Also I am glad that you have found ways to keep your son close to you and ways to remember him for example the rainbows. I am glad that you found peace during a difficult time." Brenda Lariviere.

"That was just wonderful. I know what it`s like to lose a person you love and how much it helps to share the pain. All the best for you." Susann from Germany.

"The boy you once knew is the boy you still know because he is still with you in spirit. The way you write about him proves he is in your heart and no one can ever take that away from you." G.Lewis, Tredegar Gwent.

"How wonderful that you have been able to take such a horrific tragedy and turn it into something important and positive. Who knows how many lives you have saved. God Bless You." Cheryl in Canada.

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