A TEENAGER drowned on the final day of an aid mission to Africa.
John McGladrigan had been enjoying a swim with friends hours before he was due to fly home from a voluntary five-week trip to the town ofWa in Ghana.
But the 19-year-old never returned to the shore and his body was discovered further down the coast two days after his disappearance.
John's parents Gerry and Jane, of Cumbernauld, near Glasgow, yesterday paid tribute to their son.
Jane said: 'John loved what he was doing, he loved the place and the people. Wild horses could not have stopped John savouring the last few minutes of the project hewas on.'
John and his fellow volunteers had been on the final leg of their trip from Wa, in the north-west of Ghana, to the southern coast near the capital Accra.
He was part of a Third World educational mission for the De La Salle Brothers. His fellow workers searched for him after he was reported missing earlier this month.
Gerry said: 'The volunteers who were with John endured the most traumatic and distressing of experiences.
'We would like to thank them for their efforts at that dreadful time.'
Pupils from John's old school, Our Lady's High, in Cumbernauld, sobbed as Father Francis Bomansaan from Wa paid tribute to John at his funeral service on Tuesday.
He said: 'John was a fine young man, who loved his voluntary work in Africa.
'He was so keen on being there that he was dreading the time when he had to return home. It is a tragedy.'
Our Lady's High deputy headmaster Frank Reilly said: 'I knew John well and I was very saddened to hear the tragic news of his death.
'Last year he was working on a project in Kenya to build a new school and this year he continued his work in Ghana.'
A Foreign Office spokeswoman said John's death had been a tragic accident.