Teen recalls the terrifying moment his mum and six-year-old sibling drowned in front of him and how befriending other orphans helped him and his brother cope
TWO sets of brothers who were tragically orphaned in separate drowning tragedies have struck up a remarkable friendship after being brought together by Aled Jones.
Last summer, Aberdeen teenagers Sam and Jordan Walker were left heartbroken when mum Julie and their six-year-old brother, Lucas, were swept to their deaths by a freak wave.
Sam, then 13, was dragged from the water after trying to rescue his brother.
The youngsters believed no one would ever be able to understand their heartache.
But Aled introduced them to Rob and Paul Forkan, who were just 17 and 15 when their parents were washed away in the Boxing Day tsunami of 2004, while on a family holiday in Sri Lanka.
Now the two pairs of brothers – brought together for a deeply moving TV show which airs tomorrow morning – have become close pals.
Rob, now 30, says: “Sam and Jordan are us 12 years ago.
“Meeting them was so emotional. We will be friends for rest of our lives.”
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In BBC’s Going Back, Giving Back, Sam tells for the first time the horror of the day last August when his mum Julie and brother Lucas lost their lives.
Sam and Lucas were playing on the esplanade near Aberdeen when a huge wave crashed into the sea wall, dragging them into the icy water.
In tears Sam, 14, remembers hearing Julie, 37, scream “No, my babies” as she dashed in to the sea try and save them.
Sam said he lost Lucas in the water after they were hit by a second wave.
He told the Forkan brothers: “I don’t know where he went. I couldn’t see him after that.
“Then my mum screamed ‘No, my babies’. My mum ran down and tried to come in but she got pushed into the water too.
“Me, my mum and Lucas were stuck in the water. I couldn’t see Lucas for the life of me.
“People started to try and pull me up. I finally saw my mum upside down and floating.
“I was in the ambulance and everyone told me it was going to be okay ‘Your mum and Lucas will be fine’.
“But I’d already seen what happened in my own head. I haven’t been near the water since.”
His brother Jordan, 17, was at football practice at the time and returned home to discover he was an orphan.
It was months before Jordan felt able to visit the beach where Julie was killed.
He said: “It was terrible going down there to see it. I just wanted to say a few things to my mum.
“I wanted to tell her I loved her and stuff. I think she heard me because she’s supported me through everything.
“She’s made me the person I am today. I think of the good times because it’s so much better.”
Sam told the Forkan brothers how he dreams of hearing his mum’s voice again.
He says: “Mum was just such a loving person. She was so determined. She put everyone in front of her.
“She was such a big character and so was Lucas. Lucas was such a character.
“He had no evil in him at all, but he did have a little evil grin when he’d done something. He was such a cheeky chappy.
“I still dream of hearing their voices one last time.”
Jordan adds: “She would have done anything for us.
“I miss that boy so much. He was so funny and his smile was incredible. He was so cheeky.”
Rob and Paul Forkan were teenagers when their parents Kevin, 54, and Sandra, 40, died in the 2004 tsunami.
The Forkan family were on a Christmas holiday when a 9.1 magnitude earthquake under the Indian Ocean causing the massive tsunami which stuck 14 countries, killing 280,000 people.
Rob and Paul’s parents died saving their younger siblings Matt, then 12, and Rosie, then nine, from giant waves that swamped Sri Lanka.
Rob and Paul, now 28, have since set up successful flip flop company, Gandys, to raise money for survivors of the tsunami.
Sam and Jordan talked to the Forkan brothers about how they have struggled in the aftermath of the tragedy.
Rob and Paul – who travelled from London to Aberdeen where Sam and Jordan live with their grandparents – gave the boys advice for the future and pledged to help them as they grow up.
Aled Jones says: “Meeting Sam and Jordan it is clear that they are still suffering intensely from the loss of their brother and mother.
“It was wonderful to see how they benefited from meeting Rob and Paul and how they were able to open up for the first time about the extent of their trauma.
“I hope this friendship is something that sustains them for a long time to come.”
Going Back Giving Back is on BBC1 tomorrow morning (Tues) at 9.15am.