Lancaster mum: don’t drink and drown like my brother did

Photo Neil Cross
Lancaster woman Janet Regan lost her brother seven years ago after he drowned in a canal after a night out. She has spoken for the first time about the incident in a bid to raise awareness for the a water safety campaign run nationally by the Royal Life Saving Society
Photo Neil Cross Lancaster woman Janet Regan lost her brother seven years ago after he drowned in a canal after a night out. She has spoken for the first time about the incident in a bid to raise awareness for the a water safety campaign run nationally by the Royal Life Saving Society

Reporter Gemma Sherlock talks to Janet Regan who shares her heartbreak of losing her brother in a bid to raise awareness of a life saving campaign.

The sister of a man who drowned after a night out has spoken for the first time since losing her brother seven years ago.

John Regan who died from drowning in a canal after a night out with friends.

John Regan who died from drowning in a canal after a night out with friends.

Janet Regan’s brother John Regan was out with friends before his body was found in a canal.

Family and friends sparked a desperate week-long search to find the 30-year-old who went missing after partying.

Janet, from Lancaster, wants to raise awareness of the dangers of mixing alcohol and water.

“This could happen to anyone on a night out,” said the mum-of-two.

Photo Neil Cross
Lancaster woman Janet Regan lost her brother seven years ago after he drowned in a canal after a night out. She has spoken for the first time about the incident in a bid to raise awareness for the a water safety campaign run nationally by the Royal Life Saving Society

Photo Neil Cross Lancaster woman Janet Regan lost her brother seven years ago after he drowned in a canal after a night out. She has spoken for the first time about the incident in a bid to raise awareness for the a water safety campaign run nationally by the Royal Life Saving Society

“There are so many students here in Lancaster, some who live right along the canal.

“When you have had a few drinks you think ‘oh it wont happen to me’ but it might.”

Janet wants to place banners in Lancaster and work with canal pubs to support the Royal Life Saving Society’s (RLSS) campaign, ‘Don’t Drink and Drown.’

It aims to reduce the number of deaths in waterways and help victim’s families, like John’s.

John disappeared from his friends on a night out after he was refused entry at a bar.

“I think he was just thinking this was the quickest way to get home, it was the route he took every day,” said Janet, who lives on Ullswater Road.

“It was unfortunate that he was on his own, the CCTV showed a couple of people on unicycles going past but it was just too late.”

The last time Janet had seen her younger brother was six months before, when they were scattering their father’s ashes.

“That year was the hardest, my dad died and my brother died, we were all in total shock,” said Janet.

John, an analyst for a Camden Town sports betting company, was living in London when he sadly passed away seven years ago this week, November 19.

“He was just a typical young bloke, he liked going out at night with his mates, he had a good job,” said Janet, who is a support worker.

“He loved travelling, in fact the night he died he got back that morning from Miami.

“He went out that night in Camden, he went to watch a football match with friends, I think it was a big cup game, they were drinking.

“It had all been a bit hectic, I think John got turned away from a bar and decided to go home.

“These things happen, suddenly your friends are not with you anymore, his mates thought he left, came home didn’t think anything of it, he could have met a girl.

“It was when he didn’t turn up for work people started worrying.

“It was really out of character.”

Janet was living in Spain the night John disappeared but decided to fly home when the family got hold of the CCTV footage.

She said: “It showed him walking towards the canal drunk, in that time everyone knew what happened.

“Then the police searched the canal, it was horrific when they didn’t find him.

“As the days went by and nothing happened you felt worse.”

A week after he disappeared John’s body was found in Regent’s Canal in Camden.

Janet said: “We were all in shock.

“It was a busy canal, it is Camden, people are around, even at one in the morning but there just happened to be no one there when he fell in.”

John’s death was ruled as an accidental death at an inquest.

Janet has been back to Camden since his death but doesn’t want to visit the canal.

John’s friends annually fundraise in his memory and Janet wants to run a marathon for her brother next year.

“All his friends have wives, kids, he never got that.

“People who see anyone walking funny or who may be a bit drunk by the canal please stop them, don’t just leave them there.”