One of the first Foyle Search & Rescue volunteers has said he is delighted to see the organisation going from strength to strength.
Frankie McMenamin, who was a volunteer with the charity for three years after it was set up in 1993, said those who have helped steer the project forward over the years were to be congratulated as they marked their 25th year in operation this year.
Mr. McMenamin, who lost his brother, Michael McMenamin, to the river in November 1985, said the Derry charity has provided a lifeline for many, many people over the years.
“Our brother Michael was 24 and it was devastating for our family and lots of families more recently have lost members of their families to the Foyle,” he said. “At the time we searched the River Foyle along with some others for weeks and eventually Michael’s remains turned up.
“Then in 1993 I saw an ad in the ‘Derry Journal’ and I became a volunteer. I was one of a number of volunteers at the time. I was interviewed by the late Harry Boyle back then.
“It started off with nothing, just a small room down in Francis Street and a number of people going out at night and checking on people and watching for anybody in danger. To see the organisation it has become is brilliant.
“It was a privilege and a pleasure to be involved in the organisation back then, and over the years Foyle Search & Rescue have saved thousands of lives and help families who lost people in the Foyle.
“The time I spent there was a great experience and, sometimes, a very sad experience as well.
“I am glad to see them continuing onwards into the future.”
At Foyle Search & Rescue’s 25th annual general meeting recently, chairman Stephen Twells said all those at FS&R should be proud of the difference they continue to make at a time when, unfortunately, the number of interventions is rising.
On average each year FS&R are now helping over 100 potentially suicidal people.