Boys who died in lough tragedy were ‘beautiful, generous spirits’

The families of Reuven Simon and Joseph Sebastian told how a ‘massive hole’ had been left in their lives.
Boys who died in lough tragedy were ‘beautiful, generous spirits’

By Jonathan McCambridge, PA

Two boys who died in a Co Derry lough were “beautiful, generous spirits”, their families have said.

The families of Reuven Simon and Joseph Sebastian told how a “massive hole” had been left in their lives but said they have drawn strength from the support and prayers they have received from the community since the tragedy.

The two 16-year-old friends died after getting into difficulty while swimming at Lough Enagh last week.

The boys were from Derry’s Indian Keralan community and had been due to return to St Columb’s College after receiving their GCSE results.

 

A joint statement from their families said: “We, the families of Reuven Simon and Joseph Sebastian, and Derry’s wider Kerala community would like to express our heartfelt appreciation for all the kindness, love and support and prayers we have received since last week’s tragedy that cruelly took our two beautiful boys too soon.

“We have drawn enormous strength, at this dark and difficult time, from the sympathy and support we have received from Derry and beyond and for that we will always be grateful.

“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.

“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.”

The statement added: “The loss of our precious boys has left a massive hole in all our lives.

“These have been truly dark days but the community continues to be a source light among the darkness.

“People’s acts of friendship and kindness will not be forgotten.

“We will continue to rely on the support and prayers of the community in the time ahead as we grieve for our sons.

Enagh Lough drowning
The funeral of Reuven Simon and Joseph Sebastian took place last Friday. Photo: Joe Boland/PA

“Both Reuven and Joseph were beautiful, generous spirits – we will keep their memory 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.”

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