Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Launching #MissforMay

May is a busy month for Missing People, raising awareness and support of several key events – International Missing Children’s Day, Milesfor Missing People, the Big Tweet and now the 1st anniversary of the launch of Child Rescue Alert. These events all serve to bring the different elements of the ‘missing’ scenario to a wider audience and to focus minds on the heartaches and upended lives experienced by those who have missing loved ones – my family included. My son Quentin went missing in 1992, when we lived in New Zealand, and despite all these years of searching we have had no information and no knowledge of what has happened to him.

When I came back to live in England in 1995, I did eventually hear about Missing People and phoned them one day but of course there was little anyone could do, the organisation was in its very early stages and was basically the Helpline. Fast forward to 2009 when I read the superb research report ‘Living in Limbo’, I instantly felt that here were people that understood the complexities and the emotional stresses of ‘missing’. I became a Family Advisor, a role created to find people with direct experience of missing, who were able to talk to the media, attend events or help in other ways. The initial focus for the ten or so Family Representatives was the Missing Rights Campaign, launched at a Parliamentary Inquiry in June 2010. The role has proved to be varied, tremendously rewarding and also therapeutic for me, some highlights being from the steps of Parliament to an International Police Association conference in a German castle and on stage at London O2 in front of 16,000 Rock Choir members!

So why #MissforMay? A question that popped into my mind last October when I was dog-walking with a friend who had just started ‘Go Sober for October’ - why couldn’t we do something similar at Missing People and why restrict it to alcohol? With May being an important month with plenty of media attention, perhaps we could build in some focused fundraising as well as awareness raising? That was the seed that grew into #MissforMay.

We all have one thing we love to do, eat, drink, buy, see or be but with the right sort of encouragement, motivation and support we can all give this one thing up for a while. In doing so, we’ll be showing our friends and family how much we care about the work of Missing People whilst probably doing ourselves a good turn as well if food or drink are our choices to give up! It just seems so obvious and a no-brainer.

What will I give up? It could be ebay, eating Seasalt dark chocolate, cheese or the odd glass of wine or beer. Unfortunately I have to admit the last option is what I will miss most, especially as we drift into warmer weather hopefully. So I’ll be in an alcohol-free zone for May and definitely not cheating as my main sponsor will be monitoring me closely and will demand a refund if I succumb to temptation. After all, missing something you enjoy for a month is just a shadow compared to missing someone you love for years.

#MissforMay is giving many of us a chance to raise whatever sum of money we can. We know that every penny and pound will help bring someone home or support a family desperate to see their loved ones again.

I hope you can join us in #MissforMay - there’s strength in numbers and HUGE satisfaction in know that our simple ‘sacrifices’ will be helping this amazing organisation that is Missing People.

Sarah Godwin (Trustee and Family Representative, Missing People)

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.