THE FAMILIES of two teenagers who drowned in Derry last week have expressed their appreciation at the outpouring of support that has been send their way.
Sixteen-year-olds Reuven Simon and Joseph Sebastian, who were members of the local Indian community, drowned when they got into difficulty while swimming at Enagh Lough on the outskirts of the city early last week.
Through SDLP Foyle MLA Mark H Durkan, the families said they have drawn "enormous strength" from the people of Derry and beyond since the tragedy occurred.
"It would be impossible to name individually all of you who have helped us but we do wish to put on record our appreciation and admiration of our emergency services and all those involved in the search, rescue and recovery operation for their courage and professionalism," they said.
"We want to thank the public for their understanding of and cooperation with traffic restrictions that were helpfully managed by the PSNI to allow for the funeral procession.
"We wish to also express our sincere thanks to Reuven and Joseph’s, friends and classmates who shared their stories of joy and laughter."
They said they will continue to rely on the support and prayers of the community in the time ahead, and that they will keep their memories alive "by embodying that generosity of spirit, treating people with kindness and loving wholeheartedly."
"We hope that some good can come from this heartbreaking tragedy by ensuring better and safer management of all our lakes and waterways, and educating people of the very stark dangers of water. In doing so, we hope that other families will never have to suffer of the avoidable death of a loved one."