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Family of drowning victim Leigh Early thank those who tried to save him

The family of tragic Donegal drowning victim Leigh Early have asked him to look over them as they try to cope with his loss.

And they have thanked those who tried desperately to revive the 26-year-old who was taken from the water off Arranmore Island when his car slipped off a pier in the early hours of Sunday morning last.

A Garda investigation into the cause of the tragedy is still ongoing but it is being treated as a tragic accident.

Leigh's funeral took place on his beloved island on Thursday last amidst moving scenes.

Over the past week, hundreds of people have recalled fond memories of the hugely-popular 26-year-old.

They included members of the Arranmore RNLI of which Leigh was a volunteer alongside his father Jimmy.

Now his family have thanked everyone who helped them in any way in coping as best they can with the loss of Leigh.

A spokesperson said "The Early family would like to express our heartfelt gratitude and appreciation to our many friends for the overwhelming love, support, kindness, generosity and thoughtfulness shown to us during these last difficult days.

We were truly humbled by the efforts of the Arranmore Lifeboat Crew and ambulance and Dr Quinn in their efforts to resuscitate Leigh. Tragically for us, it was not to be.

The family also thanked the Gardai, ferry operators, the RNLI, Irish Coastguard and Irish Navy for all their support.

But they saved a special thanks for all those who traveled from across the world to arrive on the remote island for Leigh’s funeral on Thursday last.

Among the mourners was the other young man in his 30s who managed to escape from the car when it entered the water off Poolawaddy Pier.

Leigh’s family added “To those who travelled from all parts of the world to attend Leigh's wake, we will never ever forget the love and support you have shown to us and to Leigh's memory.

“As there are too many to mention individually, we apologise but please know, we are eternally grateful.”

The family also recalled Leigh’s love of music when paying a special thanks to all of his heartbroken friends.

"Lastly, for Leigh's friends.......you are all a credit to him and we have comfort knowing that Bruce's songs, laughs and memories will be carried in your hearts forever. In the words of Taylor Swift, (one of Leigh's favourites), 'You'll never have to be alone, I love you and that's all I really know.'

And the tribute to Leigh ended with the note “Leigh ’Skipper’ Early, watch over us all.”