Mother of British tourist missing in Australia feels ‘completely numb’

The mother of a British tourist who went missing from a beach in Australia a week ago said she feels "completely numb" as she visited the spot where his belongings were found.

Tanya McNab travelled to Shelly Beach on the New South Wales coast, where a vigil for Hugo Palmer and his friend Erwan Ferrieux was held on Sunday.

She said her son had been living his dream by visiting Australia, but it had "only just started".

"I'm feeling numb — completely numb. I have been since I heard the news," she said.

Mr Palmer, from East Grinstead, East Sussex, and Mr Ferrieux, a French national, arrived in Australia in November, and had been in the Port Macquarie area since February 17.

A major search was launched after items belonging to the 20-year-olds were found at the beach near Port Macquarie late that night.

The air and sea operation was scaled back on Wednesday, although sweeps of the area were due to continue.

On Sunday, locals and backpackers from Port Macquarie joined Mr Palmer's mother and members of his family on the beach for a vigil.

The men's belongings were arranged on the sand and flowers were laid.

One of the vigil's organisers, Betsey Drake, told ABC: "We decided as a community we were missing them too, even though we never met them."