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Emotional scenes as 'devastated' family say goodbye to Jack Glenn

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Emotional scenes as 'devastated' family say goodbye to Jack Glenn thumbnailThe late Jack Glenn.

THERE were emotional scenes on Saturday as the family of young Jack Glenn were finally able to lay him to rest - eight weeks after he entered the River Foyle.

The 23-year-old's parents, Colin and Hester, sister Katie, and wider family circle were joined by hundreds of mourners at his funeral service held at Ebrington Presbyterian Church on the Limavady Road in Londonderry.

Among those in attendance at the service were volunteers and representatives from various rescue organisations who helped in the search operation.

Jack's body was recovered from the River Foyle last Monday. He had been missing since February 2.

In the weeks that followed, his heartbroken family had maintained a constant vigil by the riverside at a location which they poignantly named as 'Camp Jacko'.

Hundreds of people - many total strangers - from across the city, Tyrone, Donegal and further afield had travelled day and daily to help Jack's family and friends patrol the river banks.

Rescue teams led by Foyle Search and Rescue with local teams from Mourne River Search and Rescue and Strabane Community Rescue and other agencies, including the Boyne Fishermen River Rescue team, had also been involved in the daily searches.

Many of those who helped in the searches for the young Artigarvan man wore hi-viz vests emblazoned with '#Getjackback' written on the back and formed a guard-of-honour outside the church.

Scores more people lined the route as the funeral cortege made its way from Jack's grandparents' house in the Waterside.

Inside the church, several heartbreaking tributes were paid to Jack during the service. Once of the most poignant moments came as his sister, Katie, fought back tears to deliver a heart-rending poem.

Rev Paul Linkens, who led the service, said the Glenn family had been left devastated by their loss adding that they wished to thank everyone who had helped with the searches.

He added that the tragedy had united people across all faiths: "There was help from many quarters, including local cafes and retailers who supplied food and refreshments for those helping at Camp Jacko.

"The people who visited the camp came from different backgrounds and traditions and some who had been through a similar heartache, and whatever your faith tradition is, whether you share this tradition or have no tradition, you are very welcome here. We are united in grief and we seek this day to stand alongside this family," he said.

Jack's uncle Wayne Glenn who helped co-ordinate the 'Get Jack Back' campaign also delivered an emotional tribute to his nephew who he affectionately called 'wee Jack'. He said he had "touched the lives of so many people".

He told mourners that Jack was the first born grandchild and "became the centre of our worlds and we watched him grow with love and pride".

"He was honest, humble, fearless, funny, a bit of a rascal with a glint in his eye," Mr Glenn said, "He was so kind and so loving and gentle".

Mr Glenn also spoke of Jack's sporting talent and it how it allowed him to play for various teams within the cricket, rugby and football worlds. Many of his former teammates were among those at the service.

His nephew, he said was also "incredibly intelligent" and "breezed through school" and "enjoyed the craic with friends". He was also extremely close to his family.

During the tribute, Mr Glenn also took time to thank the scores of volunteers who had helped the family.

"People talk about superheroes on the TV but we worked with superheroes everyday. We will never ever be able to repay you that made it all possible.

"Morning, noon and night, rain, hail and snow, we knew you would be there with us and you were," he added.

Mr Glenn said that in the midst of the devastation and pain of Jack's passing, the family were relieved to finally bring him to rest.

"When Colin and Hester asked me to do this tribute to Jack, I thought what words could I say? The best I could come up with were four words - We got Jack back."

Elsewhere, there were also tributes from Rev David Latimer and an emotional reading from Jack's aunt to a "kind, loving, handsome, well-mannered young lad".

After the service, Jack was laid to rest in Altnagelvin Cemetery. He is survived by his parents, Colin and Hester, sister Katie and niece Lexie, grandparents, Jack and Violet, and Lou and wider family circle.

 

* If you or someone you know is in distress or despair, you can call Lifeline on 0808 808 8000 free of charge. This is a confidential service, where trained counsellors will listen and help immediately on the phone and follow up with other support if necessary. The helpline is available 24 hours a day, everyday.

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