THE mother of a missing man broke down in tears as she thanked everyone who helped in the search.
Clare Jordan was devastated when her son Matthew's body was discovered in Windermere more than two weeks after he went missing in the Lake District.
The 20-year-old criminology student was last seen in Bowness-on-Windermere in the early hours of March 27 after he became separated from his three friends following a night out.
More than 1,000 volunteers, including family and friends, helped to scour the area with his parents Clare and Bob refusing to leave the town until their son had been found.
The family's worst fears were confirmed at 10.20am yesterday (Tuesday, April 15) when his body was recovered by Cumbria Police's marine unit.
Today his devastated parents held a press conference to thank everyone for their support throughout their traumatic ordeal.
Mrs Jordan, of Middlesbrough, was unable to contain her emotions as she paid tribute to her loving son.
She said: "We would like to say a heartfelt thank you to everyone for all of their support and kind words and actions in trying to help us to find Matthew.
"For those of you that knew him, it represents what a fantastic, friendly and humorous person he was. For those of you who didn't know him, yet still put a lot of effort into searching for him, it shows that people in your community do care, are selfless, and have a wonderful team spirit. You have been truly fantastic and we feel part of the community now."
The couple immediately travelled to Windermere as son as they heard their son had disappeared and did not intend to leave the town until he had been found.
She added: "everyone was a tower of strength to us over the past few difficult weeks. You all took Matthew to your hearts and made it your mission to find him. Without all of your help we would have been lost.
"We found you Matthew, we love you dearly and are taking you home to be at peace."
CCTV images has shown the student leaving The Stag's Head pub in Bowness and heading towards the Lake Road promenade.
During the search police, mountain rescue volunteers, friends and relatives checked on land while a specialist team searched on the lake in a desperate attempt to find the young man.
Detective Inspector Furzana Nazir praised the efforts of everyone and paid tribute to the family's determination to trace Matthew.
Speaking at a press conference in Goodly Dale School, Windermere, she said: "The family are not treating Matthew's death as suspicious and there was no evidence of anyone else's involvement. We still don't know how he got into the lake and there's still an ongoing inquiry to discover exactly what happened to him."
A post mortem is expected to be carried out in the coming days in an attempt to discover a cause of death before details are handed over to the coroner for the purposes of an inquest.