Thursday, 28 March 2013

Riding for Missing People



At the beginning of 2012, I was overweight and not as fulfilled in my life as I could be. I made the decision to lose weight and allow myself to live a little. Throughout the year I lost 70 lbs and with the help of Alan O'Mahony my personal trainer, recovered much of the fitness I had as a youngster playing hockey on a regular basis.

Knowing that my motivation is stronger when focusing on others' needs, I decided to work towards a charity fitness challenge. As an avid reader, I had been reading "Missing Persons" by Nicci Gerard (Penguin, 2012) which explores the emotional upheaval brought about when a family member disappears. Gerard was able to convey the helplessness and constant weeping wound-type emotions with such poignancy that i was really touched.

In my work as a criminal defence solicitor, I come across missing youngsters and encourage them to get a message home but this was the first time I had considered the other side of the situation. By coincidence, I saw  the Missing Person Cycle Challenge advertised on Twitter and had no hesitation in signing up.

I am a complete novice at cycling and under no illusions that it will present a real challenge both physically and logistically in fitting all the training in but if Nicci Gerard has only captured a small proportion of the support required by these families, it will be time well spent.”

by Julia Moffatt, who is riding the Missing People Cycle Challenge 2013 for Missing People.
If you want to fundraise for Missing People, why not join Miles for Missing People on 25 May!?  Click for details...

Friday, 15 March 2013

Painted pink for Missing People



Many people know that our son Andrew went missing aged 14 in 2007 and we have been searching for him ever since.

My wife would describe the experience of having a child missing from the family as like having a knife stuck in you; it hurts constantly and until you know what happened, it stays there, agitating the wound.  If you only knew, even if it was knowing the worst, then the knife would at last be pulled out and the wound could begin to gradually heal.  It would be less painful but always leave a scar.
It is families like ours that are supported by the charity Missing People, both in practical terms through publicity campaigns and in emotional terms through support days and counselling services.
Missing People started a fundraising campaign in Yorkshire using Glenys' and Andrew's pictures on 11th March 2013.  Radio adverts, internet banners, newspapers, the Big Issue and other advertising spaces were used over a period of 3 weeks for this campaign.

I decided  to help get the campaign off to a flying start by being sponsored to dye my hair pink - pink because it is the logo colour of the charity.  To begin with I added an incentive that if I had over £500 in sponsorship I would also shave one half of my head to look even more ridiculous.  I am delighted that the total is now almost £1,000 and that Stacey's barber shop, where Andrew used to go, is helping me out with this.

I have also painted the charity's phone number on my fingernails in pink.  116 000 is the free number that works anywhere in Europe if someone is missing.  In the UK, Missing People gives advice and support.  One of the things I really want to get across to people is to put that number in your phone address book and if you have children make sure they have it in their phone too.  I hope you will never need it, but if someone you love is missing it could be a lifeline.  If you are a young person and finding things tough and thinking about leaving, use that number to talk it through with a trained staff member or volunteer at Missing People.  Many children and young people in particular who go missing end up being cold, lonely, hungry, frightened and abused - talking things through first could be all the difference to your wellbeing.  It never crossed our minds as parents to talk about what to do if you are lost or feel you want to run away, so please get that phone number down.

We always hope that any publicity about Andrew will perhaps be the thing that gets us news of what happened to him.  We have never asked the general public for money to help.  But we are asking now, not for ourselves, but for a charity that works tirelessly to reunite families, help people who are missing from their families and to support families like ours who are missing someone they love profoundly.  We can promise you that the work Missing People do really helps and reunites many families each year.   

Please give, every little bit helps. You can text MUM1 to 70990 to give £3 (terms and conditions: donations cost £3 plus your standard network rate. Missing People will receive at least £2.67 of this amount  .  Or give any amount online at www.missingpeople.org.uk/mum.  Or if you prefer to sponsor Kevin looking ridiculous, http://www.justgiving.com/Kevin-Gosden.

Written by Kevin Gosden, 
whose son Andrew has been missing since 2007

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 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.