Belfast Telegraph

Mothers seeking their lost sons united in grief on bank of Foyle

By Donna Deeney

There has been an emotional meeting of two heartbroken Londonderry mothers, both searching the River Foyle for their missing sons.

"She is the one woman in this city that knows exactly how I feel and I know what she is going through," Hester Glenn, whose son Jack went into the River Foyle six weeks ago, told the Belfast Telegraph after meeting the mother of Dean Millar, who disappeared into the river at the weekend.

Hester said the pair instinctively hugged during the chance meeting on the banks of the Foyle.

The paths of the two mothers crossed on Monday evening as they each were out searching for their sons.

Jack Glenn (23) has been missing since February 2 and despite a huge search operation his remains have not yet surfaced from the depths of the river. Since then his family have maintained a daily presence on the river bank near where he was seen entering the water, and from where volunteers spread out to help find Jack.

Now another family -the Millar family from the Creggan area of Derry - have begun their own similar quest to find Dean (18) who was last seen on Saturday night in the Brandywell where he left a group of friends.

Jack Glenn's mother Hester told the Belfast Telegraph that bumping into Dean's mother was a poignant encounter for both of them. She said: "I was out on the search for Jack and Dean's mother was out looking for him when we met. We just looked at each other and then hugged, it was very emotional for both of us. She told me 'I feel your pain' and she does. We are two mothers who desperately want to get our sons back."

Leading the searches of the water for both Jack and Dean is Foyle Search and Rescue, and Chairman Stephen Twells said the charity's volunteers are feeling the effects of the two searches. He said: "We have been out on the river every day using every resource available in the search for Jack and as we reach the six week period, which is the average time for someone to surface, we were hoping to return Jack to his family. Now we have a fresh search for young Dean and that has brought additional emotional stress to our volunteers.

"This is only the second time we have had two separate body recovery searches on the Foyle at the same time, but we will not stop until we have found both Jack and Dean.

"Every day when we set off, we desperately hope that this will be the day we will find them.

"This is such a difficult time for the two immediate families but also for their wider circle and we keep in constant contact with them and advise the people who are out helping the families how to keep themselves safe."

  • If you or someone you know is in distress or despair, you can call Lifeline on 0808 808 8000. 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, seven days a week. You can also access the Lifeline website at

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