FAMILY and friends of Joby Murphy this week hope to hand over specialist sonar equipment to the Community Rescue Service.
Glengormley man Joby tragically lost his life when he fell into the River Lagan near the Odyssey complex in January.
After four weeks, the 20-year-old’s body was found in the river by specialist search teams using expensive sonar equipment that had to be sourced from Mallow in County Cork.
In the aftermath of the tragedy, family and friends of the hotel worker (pictured inset) launched the Joby Murphy Trust to raise funds to provide specialist search equipment at Belfast Harbour.
After a series of fundraisers as well as contributions from indie rock band Snow Patrol - whose concert Joby attended on the night he died - the fund reached its target of £35,000.
Joby’s father Joe (inset) told the Times: “The equipment is on its way. We had hoped it would be here for July 5 for Joby’s 21st when we held a service at the Lagan, but it was held up by paperwork.
“Hopefully the equipment will be arrive this week and we can hand it over to the Community Rescue Service. It is real state-of-the-art and better than the equipment that located Joby, so hopefully it can do some good.”
Joe continued: “Everyone has been fantastic, the support has been overwhelming.
“We held a fundraiser in Fortwilliam Golf Club and raised over £7,000 - that was just incredible.
Joe said that progress had been made since his son’s death.
He added: “I am still haunted by the bureaucracy that held up the search effort. But at least now the people and agencies involved are saying it can’t happen again and are working together to stop another person dying on the water - that, at least, is a bit of comfort.”
Recently family and friends gathered on the Lagan Weir footbridge to mark Joby’s 21st birthday.
Karen McKeever, Joby’s girlfriend, said: “It was an emotional and sentimental service and it was so nice to have so many people come out to mark Joby’s birthday.”
Read the full story in the Newtownabbey Times...