Wednesday, 4 May 2011
Louise Minchin: Casting a light on the missing issue
As a mum, I find that a shocking statistic, and had no idea it was that many until I began presenting Missing for BBC One.
Through the programme we try to help find some of those children and well as some of the estimated 60,000 adults who go missing in the UK each year. The good news is that with the help of our viewers 17 of the missing people cases that we featured during last year's series were resolved.
But the search goes on for many more and Missing 2011 will be on at 0915 every morning next week on BBC One with more families that need your help.
Over the years I have spoken to mums and dads, husbands and wives, and perhaps most heartbreakingly of all, children, desperately searching for news of their missing loved one.
This year I have met an eight year old girl who can hardly speak about her dad without bursting into tears, and is still writing him letters and poems even though he has been missing for months.
What strikes me is that it doesn't matter where you come from, how old you are, or how much money you have - you are almost helpless when someone you love goes missing, and everyone feels the same sense of desperation.
200,000 people run away or go missing every year in the UK. That's more than the entire population of Newcastle. And it doesn't just happen in big cities like London or Manchester. People can disappear from every corner of the UK; every town and city. The missing issue can affect us all.
Through my work on the 'Missing" series, I have come to know the people who work at Missing People - a charity that can help those families when a loved one disappears. And while the Missing series puts a spotlight on the issue once a year, the charity does that 24 hours a day - every day of the year. They are there all year round - a lifeline when someone disappears.
The stories featured this year are just as heartbreaking as those in years past, and with each new season I find myself increasingly struck by the ripple effects of 'missing' on the family, friends, colleagues and community around that person. I only hope that by casting a light on the people affected - even for just one week - we can help raise awareness and call needed attention to this incredibly important issue.
Please watch us at 0915 on BBC One from Monday 9 May. If you can help please call Missing People on 0500 700 700 or visit www.missingpeople.org.uk/jointhesearch.
By Louise Minchin
Presenter, BBC Missing 2011
Follow Louise on Twitter @louiseminchin
The charity Missing People is a lifeline when someone disappears. To find out more about Missing People and ways that you can support the charity visit www.missingpeople.org.uk.
Call or txt the charity Missing People for free on 116 000, 24/7 if you or anyone you know is affected by a disappearance.