The heartbroken grandparents of Jack Glenn, who entered the River Foyle 12 days ago, have appealed to all those searching for his body not to give up on finding “our beloved grandson.”
Jack Glenn Snr and his wife Violet said their faith in humanity has been restored thanks to the many hundreds of local people who continue to search for – and pray for the recovery of – the 23-year-old.
The Waterside couple said the loss of their eldest grandchild has brought people from both sides of the communities together.
“We have experienced two horrendous weeks of suffering as a family and we certainly would not wish that on any other family,” said Mr Glenn.
“But I think it’s important that we should thank all those people – many of whom we do not know – for their support and kindness, both practical and prayerful, which has brought us so much comfort and helped ease the pain.
“Local people, from both traditions in this city, have been searching day and night for our Jack. People have taken time off work; they have spent hours and hours walking the banks of the Foyle, while others have searched in and on the water. It’s been unbelievable.
“The local business community have also stepped up to provide hot food for those searching the river each day and everyone just seems to pull together, doing everything in their power to find Jack.
“As a simple man with a strong faith, I also acknowledge the prayers that have been offered on our behalf, so much so that I’m confident that Jack’s body will eventually be returned to us.
“To be honest, the practical and prayerful support has kept Violet and I sane. We have been present while the Rosary has been recited at one of the search meeting points on the Foyle Bridge. This has been taking place since the day Jack entered the water. At 6pm.every evening, the Rosary is said before people continue their search for Jack. We sincerely thank everyone involved.”
The heartbroken grandparents they believe a physical deterrent must be put in place on the Foyle Bridge to divert people from completing suicide.
“I’ve seen the spot where young Jack entered the water and it set me thinking. It was much too easy for a lad like him to negotiate the fence on the bridge,” said Mr Glenn.
“It’s about four feet high and would be easily climbed. I realise that this would not be the answer, but I think it would provide a deterrent.
“Even if a higher fence would make someone stop and think before going into the river, it may be enough to save a life. And, if such a deterrent would serve to save even one life, then I think that it would prove worthwhile,” added Jack.
A former undertaker, Jack felt he knew all about bereavement until the tragic disappearance of his grandson hit home on February 2.
“I thought I knew what people had been going through, but I didn’t know anything about it,” he said.
“As an undertaker, I had been dealing with death regularly, but I didn’t know what people had been experiencing at all. Until it comes to your own door, you really do not understand bereavement,” he admitted.
“Violet and I have now felt the pain of tragically losing a child at first hand. We’re pensioners who have a great faith and we believe we must do everything in our power to avoid another family having to experience this pain.
“God knows, so many people have come forward to support us and we feel we must have a legacy for our Jack, something that people can look back on and think of him.
“If God continues to give us the health and strength, Violet and I will create that legacy as a repayment to all those who have helped our family.
“They do not wish to be repaid, but I think we are now bound to try to save a life, even one life, and avoid such a tragedy.
“From the bottom of our hearts, we extend our thanks to each and every one of those people who have stepped up to help us in our time of need.
“Hopefully our prayers will be answered and Jack’s body will be returned to us and then we can look towards creating that legacy which will keep his memory alive for years to come.”