Family’s anguished wait over as Jack Glenn’s body found in Rover Foyle
The family of Jack Glenn - whose body was recovered from the River Foyle on Monday - will finally get to lay him to rest on Saturday.
Jack (23) was last seen entering the river on February 2, and since then a huge search operation has continued on the river and its embankments.
It involved thousands of volunteers from his home city in Londonderry, and many more from across Northern Ireland and the Republic.
Jack's parents, Colin and Hester, along with his sister Katie, have maintained a constant vigil at a makeshift shelter named Camp Jacko at the foot of the Foyle Bridge for 53 days while the search continued.
On Monday afternoon, a call came though to Jack's father, Colin, from a member of the Boyne Fishermen's Rescue search team to say they had recovered the body of a young male.
Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Jack's uncle, Wayne Glenn, who spearheaded the online campaign #GetJackBack, said that call filled them with both relief and dread.
He commented: "After word came through to Colin, he called me and we went together to meet the team from Boyne Rescue. I was able to identify that it was Jack's body they had recovered from tattoos, and I was able then to tell Colin and Hester that, at long last, we had Jack back with us. They were in bits, we all were.
"This was the moment we had waited 53 days for, but it was also the realisation that Jack was gone from our lives and we were going to have to start the next stage of saying our final goodbyes to him.
"It was so strange not having to go to the camp on Monday evening, it is only just starting to hit home that we actually do have Jack back."
He added: "We will never forget the support we had from the people of this city, but also from everywhere else.
"The rescue teams who travelled from Boyne and Meath and went out on the river every day will have our appreciation for ever."
Jack's remains have been taken for a post-mortem examination and the family has been dismantling the camp. His funeral will take place at Ebrington Presbyterian Church on Saturday, April 1, at 1pm, followed by burial at Altnagelvin Cemetery.
Jack's sister Katie posted her thoughts on her Facebook page.
She wrote: "The past seven and a half weeks have been the hardest thing I've ever been through, but I never gave up.
"Morning, noon and night I tramped up and down that river, mucked up to my eyeballs, standing by a fire for heat and drinking soup and eating Mars bars to keep us going.
"Everyone kept saying to me 'I don't know how you're keeping so strong.'
"I just had to do it, there was no way I was letting my big brother down.
"Now, wee man, you can Rest in Peace, up in heaven with Granda."
"I love you so much, look down on us all, keep us all safe and give everyone the strength to get through this."
While the search for Jack is over, the family is mindful that another young Derry man, Dean Millar (18), is still missing in the Foyle.
"Dean's family are very much in our thoughts and we have shared so much over these past, painful weeks," Mr Glenn commented.