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Tragic father a dedicated family man, says friend as body is discovered off coast

By Donna Deeney

Published 02/09/2016

The Irish Coast Guard helicopter over Doagh Island, near where Anthony Griffiths’ body was found
The Irish Coast Guard helicopter over Doagh Island, near where Anthony Griffiths’ body was found

Tributes have paid after the body of a Londonderry father who went missing during a camping trip was found off the Donegal coast.

Anthony Griffiths (59), from the Culmore area of the city, was on Doagh Island on Monday with his wife, Leonie, their youngest son and Mrs Griffiths' sister.

It is understood they went to bed around midnight. When they woke on Tuesday morning, Mr Griffiths was missing.

After waiting several hours for his return, the family raised the alarm shortly after 6pm and the Irish Coast Guard based at Malin subsequently launched a search operation.

Mr Griffiths' body was discovered yesterday on rocks near Doagh Island by the Sligo-based Coast Guard helicopter.

His remains were taken to Letterkenny General Hospital for formal identification before being returned to his family in Derry.

The news of Mr Griffiths' disappearance prompted hundreds of volunteers to join the search to help find him.

Among them was Stephen Kelly, a long-time friend and neighbour of Mr Griffiths, who said he was deeply saddened by the news of his disappearance.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Mr Kelly added: "I think that the huge number of people who went from Derry to help look for Tony is a good indication of how well loved he was. Tony was a great family man, totally dedicated to Leonie and their three sons, Anthony, James and Leo, as well as his two older children, Thomas and Sarah.

"He was so close to them and their sorrow now will be enormous, but I imagine there will be a degree of relief that they have Tony's body and have been spared the added pain of a protracted search.

"I was only too willing to help look for Tony and was one of so many, including his friends from the Foyle Golf Club who joined his wider family in the search from dawn on Tuesday morning.

"It was a great comfort and support to the family that so many people from Doagh Island, Clonmany and Ballyliffen gave up their time to help us.

"The visitor centre at Doagh opened up the cafe for all of us volunteers and kept us supplied with food, which was incredibly kind of them.

"It is at sad times like this that you realise just how much goodness there is in the world, and Tony was typical of that goodness."

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