Belfast Telegraph

Family of missing man Norman Prentice tell of relief they can now bury him

BY CLAIRE WILLIAMSON

The family of a Co Armagh man whose body was found after he went missing have spoken of their relief that their agonising wait is over.

Norman Prentice's sister spoke as heartbroken relatives prepare to lay him to rest today.

Mr Prentice's body was recovered from a river in the Corcrain area of Portadown on Saturday.

The 55-year-old local man was reported missing on January 15, but had not been seen for a number of days before then.

His distressed relatives had issued an appeal for his safe return, telling him: "Come home, we are waiting for you."

Following the recovery of his remains, Mr Prentice's sister Eileen told the Belfast Telegraph the family were holding up but that it hadn't really sunk in yet as they prepare to say goodbye to him.

Mr Prentice's funeral will take place at St John's, Drumcree, at 11am.

In a death notice he was described as the beloved father of John, Peter, Maria and Conlon.

Speaking ahead of his funeral, Eileen said: "We're OK. We are glad to get him home and glad he is found and we can put closure to the whole lot now.

"We are relieved, although the waiting at the river to get him out felt longer than the actual process of searching for him.

"But we knew it was going to be that way, we were prepared for him to be coming home the way he was.

"It was an accident, there was no foul play suspected. It hasn't sunk in, but it will over the next couple of days."

She said the family had been sharing fond memories of Norman in recent days, as she described him as a real character who will be sorely missed.

"He was the one that got the good looks and the gift of the gab," she added.

Extensive searches were carried out to find Mr Prentice and his family have thanked all those who were involved for their support and help.

Eileen added: "It was fantastic. There are no words in the dictionary that could praise them enough. The police and the support we are getting at the minute, and from the public.

"It gives us comfort that there are people out there that cared for Norman and were willing to look for him, regardless of weather."

She said the family, including her elderly father, were going through a range of emotions.

"We are heartbroken at the minute; at the end of the day, that's my baby brother.

"But time will heal.

"My dad is going through many emotions, I can't tell how he feels exactly.

"He's going through the relief of finding him, the relief of him being home, and then that he will be buried. But there is so much going on it's keeping his mind occupied, he only has his own thoughts when the house is quiet."

Eileen said the hardest time for the family will come after the funeral.

"Then you will be left thinking about it, and the what ifs, buts and whys and picking up the pieces and trying to get the family back again as best you can," she explained.

She said what she will miss most is the "banter" she and her brother shared.

"He was a character and he will be sorely missed a lot. I'll just miss his banter and his words of wit."

The PSNI also paid tribute to those involved in the search effort, including the Community Rescue Service, Lough Neagh Rescue, a dive team, a locally organised search, and police investigators.

Belfast Telegraph

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