Family members of Hugo Palmer and Erwan Ferrieux, who went missing from Port Macquarie's Shelly Beach, have expressed their gratitude for a community service held in honour of the two men.
The two backpackers went missing on February 17.
About 100 residents and visitors stood alongside family members on Sunday February 24 to release flowers into the ocean.
A small sand memorial formed part of the service.
The 20 year old Englishman and 21 year old Frenchman were reported missing after their towels, keys and glasses were sighted next to a beach boat ramp.
Hugo's mother Tania Palmer, who attended the service with Hugo's aunt, Alice Slatter, said the gathering wasn't expected and was very touching.
"It's just lovely. I'll leave knowing that it's a huge comfort the words and acts (of the day), offers of accommodation, it's incredible just being here," she said.
"We didn't know this was going to happen. Plans were just made to get here (from England) - it's very touching, I wasn't expecting this as all."
We didn't know this was going to happen. Plans were just made to get here (from England) - it's very touching, I wasn't expecting this as all.Tania Palmer
She said the rest of the family is arriving and are likely to visit the places their son visited in Australia such as a workplace in Sydney, his favourite skate park and Shelly Beach.
"To be honest, following the photos (sent back), I've been in the loop the entire way I felt like it's a beautiful place but there was something underlying that was just nervous and dangerous as well," she said.
"It's all part of the process of coming to terms, we have no plans really (this week). It's both hard to stay but hard to leave."
Ms Palmer said if the men had swum before they went missing, her son may not have been prepared for the 1 metre to 1.6 metre swell on the day.
"My only negative was that I wish I had known a bit more. I wish I had communicated more or other people had warned about the dangers. I think they were unprepared or unaware," she said.
"I think their confidence had been growing in Sydney beaches, then obviously buying the car and the journey was about to begin.
"They were just in that mentality that we can do anything, take on the world."
Hugo's aunt, Alice Slatter said the service from locals had given the family strength.
"We arrived today and it was just the most incredible reception. Loads of people and the guy who did the sculpture on the beach was just incredible. He said some beautiful words and recited a poem," she said.
It just touched us all immensely. All these people just turned up on a bit of a miserable day ... it just makes it a bit easier to leave Australia to know that people care.Alice Slatter
"It just touched us all immensely. All these people just turned up on a bit of a miserable day ... it just makes it a bit easier to leave Australia to know that people care.
"It's given us some strength and we thank everybody so much."
Sunday's service was organised by several people including Ci Barratt, Betsey Drake, Rick Thomson-Jones, Liz Craft and Robyn Sparkes.
Betty Gray, who made several flower arrangements which were part of the beach service, said she felt connected to the event.
"You do feel a bit connected because it happened at Shelly Beach," she said.
"Many of us that come down here have children and grandchildren that are travelling or have travelled overseas.
"We would want them to be safe."
Ms Barratt said she wanted to let the family know that the boys are in our hearts.
"I think it is an outpouring of concern," she said.
"Maybe it touches us more than other circumstances because it was here (on Shelly Beach).
"But everyone feels the same.
"For some of us who saw the towels there and the car keys it just brings it home a bit more."
Many people attended to show the family that even though they may be on the other side of the world we are still together, she said.
Ms Drake said if some local children were to disappear on a foreign shore and there was no one there it would feel cold and miserable.
"Everyone made this happen. Everyone that comes to Shelly Beach wanted to do something," she said.
"And even if the family decided not to come down today, we just wanted to let them know (we were supporting them).
"We all socialise here. Even though we may not know everyone's name, we still feel like this is our beach."
And even if the family decided not to come down today, we just wanted to let them know (we were supporting them).Betsey Drake
Mr Thomson-Jones said he was pleased with the support shown to the family on Sunday.
"But it wouldn't have really mattered how many people turned up," he said.
"I think it worked out well and there was a good feeling for the family.
"For the locals at Shelly Beach we feel as though this is our home.
"So when visitors or backpackers arrive here, it is like they are visiting your home.
"They are like part of the family.
"Even though we did not know the boys at all, it still affects you and you do feel the loss.
"This was such a caring thing for people to do and join with," he said.
Shelly Beach regular John Walsh, who found the men's towels and delivered a poem to Hugo's family, said he put the poem together at the beach to show support for the men's families.
"When I heard about the towels I moved them up from the beach on Monday. I then discovered keys for a car parked at the beach. It had dew on it, hadn't moved that morning," he said.
"I thought they may have gone for a walk so I waited half an hour, then called the police.
"A thousand things go through your mind (about what might have happened)."
John Walsh's poem:
Alone we will not be, for our comfort comes from the sea.
As the calmness of waves gently drift by, we shall be as one with the sea.
As the sun rises over the ocean blue we will remember you.
Now we must go to life life as full as can be.
Please be at peace, for then we shall all will feel free.
Both men are believed to have attended Sackville School in East Grinstead, have been friends for years and shared an interest in anime, manga and video games.
Friends from the same town and planned the trip with the missing men, Caraa Blackburn and Emily Powell,lived with the pair in Melbourne and Sydney.
They were due to meet the missing men in Port Macquarie this week, and attended the service.
Both missing men were beginner surfers, Hugo enjoying skateboarding and playing guitar while Erwan was interested in gymming and sport, according to Caraa and Emily.
Police are still appealing to anyone who might have seen the men, or their car, a rented silver Commodore station wagon near the Shelly Beach car park or in the surrounding streets to contact them.
Hugo Palmer from Forest Row Sussex, England, is described as being of Caucasian appearance, with fair hair, 180cm tall and with an athletic build.
Erwan Ferrieux from France has dark hair, brown eyes, a tanned complexion and is between 175cm-180cm tall.
State Emergency Services, Marine Rescue, NSW Police, Pol-Air and Surf Life Saving conducted searches on air, land and sea until the operation was scaled back on February 20.
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