Friday, 23 November 2012

“We’ll always be one short”

To this day I miss John. I lived with him for 6, having met at school at 14 and then moving in together as mates in 2005 in London. He was more than a brother to me and I have a twin. He was a shoulder to cry on, a confidant, a drinking partner (wish he hadn’t got drunk on the night in question or he’d be here now) a benefactor and an all-round damn nice bloke. I carried his coffin into a crematorium of standing room only, where over 400 people listened to his family speak, like rocks of stone about their brother, finally ending with his 3 best friends and boss. 

To say there wasn’t a dry eye in the house is the biggest understatement on my life. I want to run the marathon not for me, not for my family, but for John. To run round a course with his name on the back of my top ‘Running for John’ and ‘I miss you mate’ on the front would mean the absolute world to me.  I write this with tears streaming down my face, trying not to wake anyone because I want to scream ‘I miss you so much mate’.

I am running the London Marathon for Missing People and I aim to complete it on my first attempt in 3 hours flat but think I can (with the right training) probably dip under 3 if I push myself. That means very good for age (33) and on that basis I’d be invited back for life. I’d run it every year and give a million pounds away if it meant I could raise the profile of this amazing charity who helped Johns familydeal with the sudden, tragic and shocking accidental death of her son who was walking home, albeit drunk (his choice) along a canal side tow path.

Were it not for the accident he would be here today. I wouldn’t have lost my best friend. We spent a week looking for him before he eventually re-appeared. I take solace from the fact I made a fuss of him when I saw him, John having flown back from Miami that day – tired, but elated to be back with his 2 best friends, myself and Dan, the 3 Amigos, dos tres. 

By Virgil Andrew, 
who is running the London Marathon to fundraise for Missing People

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

It's Trustees' Week

Being a Trustee on the Board of Missing People is a privilege. For the past year I have been part of a dedicated and committed team of staff and volunteers at this amazing charity; each and every one of us doing what we can to ensure a real lifeline exists for those who are missing and those they have left behind.

It has been an incredible 12 months - both uplifting and heartbreaking. We launched the new 116 000 phone number, we ran side by side family members during Miles for Missing People in the driving rain in Regent’s Park and we have also reconnected 1,051 children and adults with their families in the past year.

Over and above ensuring the Charity’s accounts are in good order, right now our current Trustees’ challenge is finding someone new to be the Chief Executive for Missing People.

As you read this blog the sifting of the CVs has begun. We all hope that someone will stand out and shine. Someone who will take Missing People from strength to strength. Someone who can find new ways to raise funds.  Someone who really understands the pain and suffering that accompanies loss and uncertainty.

So by the time we sing the first hymns at the Missing People Carol Service this year in London and in York, in remembrance of those missing, we hope to have found our new Chief Executive.

But whomever we appoint you can be sure that late into the night and even on Christmas Day someone is always there, in our very modest office in Mortlake, at the end of the phone on 116000 should anyone need support if they are missing or if they are searching for a missing loved one.

By Missing People Trustee Lisa White
on Trustees' Week - click to learn more

Friday, 2 November 2012

Missing since 1965

The month of November always brings back sad memories for members of our family.

Forty seven years have passed but we will never forget or understand what happened on the night of Tuesday 2 November, 1965.

My cousin, Ross (short for Rosslyn) Evans was at the time an 18 year old medical student at the University of Bristol. Just before 10 o’clock that night, he’d been having a coffee with a fellow student in the refectory of their hall of residence – Badock Hall in the Stoke Bishop area of Bristol.

He left saying he was going to call on another medical student in the nearby Hiatt Baker Hall of Residence. Ross never turned up for that meeting and has never been seen or heard of since by members of his family.

Despite extensive enquiries by Ross’s parents and his uncle, in particular, at the time and for years afterwards, no real clues have ever been uncovered as to why a seemingly content and happy, bright student should disappear without trace.

Ross was the second of three children born and brought up in Aberdare in the South Wales Valleys. Having won a Miners’ Welfare Scholarship at Aberdare Grammar School, Ross entered university as a second year student by virtue of his A Level results. He disappeared barely a month into his time at university.

He had a happy home life, a girlfriend studying at Queen Elizabeth College, London and, according to letters home, a particular delight at being in college beginning a course he’d long set his heart on following.

His room showed no signs that he intended leaving. He’d packed nothing, even his shaving gear was left behind in his room and he’d gone with only the clothes he’d been wearing. He left his books open on his desk, a sentence half completed in his notebook and his pen lying alongside, seemingly all ready to start work again.

Although he’d suffered from asthma as a child, Ross was now in good health, he was very fit, had played rugby for his hall, dabbled in cross-country and enjoyed rock and mountain climbing, caving and ornithology.

Organised searches of the area by police, soldiers and civilians, including some of Ross’s fellow students, revealed nothing. There was substantial coverage in local and national newspapers and appeals made on television locally but there was no real response.

Ross’s parents in Aberdare and uncle in Walsall, West Midlands undertook their own extensive enquiries, distributing leaflets with his picture far and wide and contacting psychics, private detectives and clairvoyants, including the famous Dutch medium, Gerard Croiset, often consulted by Dutch police in missing person cases.

Several theories were put forward and some followed up. For instance, the recurrence of the name ‘Alice’ led to Ross’s uncle writing to the local authorities in Alice Springs, Australia, and Port Alice, in British Columbia, Canada. This was only one of a couple of Canadian leads that were followed up – enquiries were also made in Montreal, the port to which the ship Halifax City had sailed out of Bristol on the morning after Ross’s disappearance.

Ross’s parents died without knowing what happened to their son and those left behind still have no answers. The years pass but the questioning and loss remains. In many ways, not knowing is the hardest part.

Had there been an organisation like Missing People at the time, I’m sure my relatives would have had greater support in their deep anxiety and, possibly, some answers.

Writing in the mid-60s about the mysterious disappearance of a large number of young men and boys at that time, Tom Tullett, Chief Crime Writer of the Daily Mirror, said, “One of the shortcomings of our police system is that there is no central register of missing persons. What a boon it would be if, instead of having to circularise all forces when they find a corpse, the police could consult a central missing persons’ bureau.” (Daily Mirror, Thursday 26 January, 1967).

The charity Missing People is a lifeline when someone disappears – the kind of lifeline Ross’s parents, brother and sister, and other family members could have done with back in the 60s and in the years that followed. It’s a wonderful, much-needed charity and deserves our support.

By Mansel Jones,
cousin of missing man Ross Evans

Around 250,000 people go missing in the UK each year. The Missing Blog aims to give a voice to all those affected by this issue.

Written by families and friends of missing people, supporters working to raise awareness of the cause, and volunteers and staff at the charity Missing People, we hope that this blog will offer a window into the issue of missing.

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

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.