Bike ride helps keep memory of Jack Glenn alive, says dad
The father of a young man who died after entering the River Foyle will lead a convoy of bikers on a special memorial ride in his memory.
Jack Glenn (23), from Artigarvan near Strabane, died in March 2017.
His family mounted a huge search operation along the River Foyle, spanning almost two months, and launched the GetJackBack Facebook page to co-ordinate the hundreds of people who took part in the daily and nightly searches.
Jack's heartbroken father Colin said that Father's Day has been a hard time for him since he lost his son and that the memorial bike run due to take place this weekend is a welcome distraction.
"This is our third Father's Day rideout since losing Jack," he said.
"It's all done in memory of my son. He was buried on the first of April and the first Father's Day after that was in June and we did it then and we did it last year.
"We are still very much heartbroken. The aim of this is to keep Jack's memory alive. I just don't want his name to be ever forgotten.
"By doing this rideout it raises awareness and money for the charities but also it keeps his name alive."
Colin said that bearing such a loss is still very difficult for the family, and Father's Day is particularly painful.
"It doesn't get any easier," he added. "This is a way to channel our energy. It keeps me going and it gives me something to do.
"Father's Day is a hard day for me. And that is why I picked it for the event. It takes my mind off things while I'm focusing on this. My heart is broken and this is a significant date. I think of my own father on the day too, because he is in bits also."
Colin said the charity rideout will raise money for a cause close to his family's heart.
He added: "The event will raise money for Parkinson's UK, the local branch. It's a charity very much close to my family's heart.
"Both my mother and father have Parkinson's and Jack's other grandmother lives with it too.
"Jack was the kind of fella that always wanted to help people. He was just a great guy. And this is carrying on that legacy.
"I always want to help people and my father was like that too. It's just in us."
Colin said that he hopes the day will attract a large number of bikers and bike enthusiasts.
"We are meeting at Camp Jacko, the lay-by underneath the Foyle Bridge on the city side," he explained.
"It's a special place for us. It means a lot to us to be starting off from there.
"We lived there for seven and a half weeks while searching for him. It's only fitting that we leave from there.
"There will be a large number of bikes there from 11am and we'll have a coffee stand and a burger van so people can come down and look at the bikes and mill around before we go.
"We will leave at 1pm, head down the coast road to Portrush with a stop off at Mussenden Temple for coffee. We will end at the Dunluce Centre car park where we'll also have a raffle.
"It will be a really great day and I'd encourage everyone to come along. It's £5 per bike to register on the day."
Colin said he and his family have had enormous support from the biking community.
"Father's Day is such a hard day for me," he said.
"This is like a big communal hug on a tough day. I have friends coming from everywhere. The whole biking community has been so supportive and helpful.
"They might look like big mean nasty men but they are not. They are gentle giants and it just means so much to me that they would come out for him.
"I feel Jack with me every day. I just think about him 24/7. I hope he's proud of me and what I'm doing in his name."
The Jack Glenn Memorial Rideout will leave from underneath the city side end of Foyle Bridge at 1pm on Sunday.