It was the news that no-one wanted to hear but on Sunday afternoon the search for missing Coldingham teenager Jamie Battison came to a sad end when a body was found by a group of anglers in Eyemouth harbour.
The 19-year-old was last seen leaving The Ship Hotel in the early hours of Sunday, August 7, but he failed to return home.
His worried parents Karen and James contacted police that afternoon and after word of his disappearance spread the local community quickly rallied round organising parties of search teams to scour the area for the Heriot-Watt student.
Volunteer centres were set up at the Fishermen’s Mission in Eyemouth and the village hall in Coldingham and people from all over the Borders and north Northumberland covered miles in the hope of finding Jamie safe and well.
On Saturday night police in Eyemouth attempted to jog the memories of people who might have seen Jamie on the night of his disappearance by handing out leaflets in the town’s pubs.
A Facebook group called ‘Jamie Bettison Is Missing Please Help Us Find Him’ was set up the day he went missing and by last Friday it had over 7,000 members.
But unfortunately it was on the social networking site that news of Sunday’s discovery was first confirmed. One of the group’s moderators had been asked by Jamie’s family to inform everyone that a body had been recovered from the water after being spotted by the trio of local men just after 3pm.
The men managed to pass a line to the body and quickly alerted the Coastguard and crew of Eyemouth lifeboat who were assisting police divers with an underwater search.
As an inflatable XP boat was already in the water acting as a safety boat for the Police divers, it raced to the harbour entrance where crew members were able to secure the body, before transferring it to the all weather lifeboat which arrived on the scene just minutes later.
With the assistance of the Coastguard and police teams, the body was then brought ashore.
The Facebook post announcing the upsetting find was written early on Sunday evening and read: “It is with a very heavy and deeply saddened heart that Karen, James, Stewart and Kirsten have asked me to announce that Jamie has been found, but it is not the news we were all hoping for.
“They would like to thank everyone for their support and help with what has been the worst and scariest week of their lives.
“Jamie will be sorely missed by all his family and friends. RIP Jamie, sleep tight.”
A statement released by the police confirmed that a body of a male had been found in the harbour and Jamie’s family had been “made fully aware of the circumstances.” At the time of going to press the police still were not in a position to officially confirm identification.
Many online tributes and condolences were posted online on Sunday and Monday, and by Monday afternoon an array of flowers had been tied to railings on the harbour wall, including a floral tribute from the searchers at the Fishermen’s Mission and another with a written message saying the 19-year-old “would never know the impact” he had had in bringing so many communities together.
Late on Monday evening, Jamie’s mum Karen Battison posted a message in the Facebook group thanking everyone for their support and their dedication in trying to find Jamie.
It read: “Just wish to say thank you yet again to all who have laid flowers for Jamie. We went up tonight and left flowers and were so touched by all who have.
“Jamie was a son any parent would be very proud of. Sometimes we used to question ourselves as to why we deserved him and still cannot comprehend what has happened.
“Dark days are many but we live with our memories... Love and best wishes to all involved in anything to do with the search for our son.”
Responses to Karen’s post came from people throughout Berwickshire and beyond, many who did not know Jamie or his family, but had followed events during the week after he went missing and kept checking the group in the hope of seeing a message saying that he had been found safe and well.
East Berwickshire Councillor Michael Cook was one of the many who called into the Fishermen’s Mission on a regular basis last week, to help with the volunteer effort. As well as paying tribute to Jamie, he praised the local community for the great spirit they had shown during a difficult week.
He commented: “I didn’t know Jamie personally but understand him to have been a young man succeeding at college and on the threshold of a bright future.
“What has happened is tragic. Everyone’s heart goes out to Jamie’s family and friends.”
He added: “The community effort to assist the Police has been remarkable, and, I have no doubt, is a measure of the esteem in which Jamie was held.”