IT was the kind of reassuring text every parent needs when their child is on a night out that helped mum Sharon Anderson rest easy. 

After a struggle to get hold of him while he was enjoying a laugh with workmates, her son James texted her in the early hours to say he was fine and having a good time.

But, over the 24 hours that followed, Sharon and James’ dad Joe came face-to-face with the nightmare of losing their youngest son. 

James, from Johnstone, did not return home from his night out in Glasgow last Tuesday, and Sharon and Joe went down all the avenues they could think of to try to locate him. 

The worry intensified when there was still no sign of the 20-year-old at 3pm on Wednesday, when he was due to start his shift at KFC in Linwood.

His workmates did not know where he was and, eventually, Sharon braced herself and rang the police, while Joe posted on Facebook to see if anyone had seen James.

The next morning, officers arrived at Sharon and Joe’s home in Overton Crescent to deliver the news they had dreaded. James’ body had been found in the River Clyde, close to Glasgow Green. 

“I just didn’t want to believe it,” said Sharon. 

“I just thought, please don’t say it, he’s my baby. I just kept thinking it had to be a nightmare. We keep thinking he’s going to just come home.”

The Gazette: James with his mum Sharon

It was an unimaginable horror, not just for James’ parents, but for his brother Scott, sister Siobhan, grandma Marjorie Bruce and his two young nieces, Amirrah and Alysa. 

Sharon, 48, described the rollercoaster of emotions she went through – from falling asleep after hearing from James, to facing the brutal reality he would not be coming home.

She said: “I texted him just after 12 and I hadn’t heard back from him for a while, and I finally heard from him about 12.40am.

“He said he was fine and having a good time. When I got up and he still wasn’t in, I just thought he had gone back to his pal’s. I wasn’t overly worried.

Read More: James Anderson: Body found in River Clyde confirmed as missing Johnstone man

“He was working at 3pm and he always went to work. He worked hard, no matter what else he’d been doing.

“I rang him when I finished work at 1pm and it said his phone was switched off. I contacted his best friend, who didn’t know where he was. 

“When he didn’t come back for work, I started to feel uneasy.

“I kept thinking he would’ve just gone back to someone’s house. 

“I didn’t want to believe it was real.

“At that point I rang the police and Joe put up the post on Facebook. The police said it was because of the Facebook post they realised the body they had found was James.”

His family said James, who went to Johnstone High School and briefly attended West College Scotland before going into full-time work, loved to make everyone laugh.

One of the biggest things he was known for was being a dedicated Celtic fan, and he enjoyed many trips to Glasgow’s East End with his dad and brother.

The Gazette: James, right, with dad Joe and brother Scott on a trip to Celtic Park

Joe, 51, said: “He loved Celtic and we had season tickets when he was younger. 

“I remember how frozen he was at games in the winter though and, at that point, I just thought it was better to watch on TV.

“He loved it when they played Rangers, he would be buzzing for that.

“He liked it when he was off work and a game was on, but he would never miss work to watch a game.

“He was laid-back, happy and hard-working. He would do anything for anyone.”

Other than football, James loved video games Fortnite and Call of Duty, and got along brilliantly with his brother and sister.

The Gazette: James and his elder sister Siobhan, who called him an ‘amazing’ brother

Siobhan said: “He was an amazing brother.

“He would always tease me and get me into trouble but I could never hate him for it. 

“He used to love going fishing and out on the quad bike.

“He never realised how funny he was. 

“I remember he was buzzing for the night out in Glasgow. He didn’t go out often but when he did he was buzzing.

“I’ll miss him so much. 

“I know his nieces will as well because they kept saying it wasn’t fair this happened to him because he was so special.”

The Gazette: James, left, with his big brother Scott, who called him his ‘best friend’

Sharon added: “All he had to do was flutter his big eyelashes and you would do anything for him. 

“He would tell me off when I was dusting and getting in the way of his games. But we would just laugh about it.”

Scott told The Gazette: “I feel as if I have lost my best friend.”