Early Day Motion supports families of missing people

I met some wonderful people today, families and friends of missing people, all marching through London to raise awareness Missing march 009about the lack of support they receive. All trying to do their best for the loved ones they have lost.

Their personal stories are not just tragic because of their huge loss, but because of the way these cases are dealt with by police and officials – particularly overseas.

No foreign country wants to admit Missing march 052to bad news stories and potentially harm its tourist industry. This is one of the biggest obstacles families face when they inexplicably lose a loved one abroad.

That was the case of the McCanns after Madeleine vanished in Portugal – her great uncle and aunt, Patrick and Alexis, carried banners on the march today. Steven Cook’s devastated parents Norman and Pat travelled from Cheshire to be there too, but missed the march due to railway delays, and told me about their nightmare after their son vanished in Crete. I also met Jo Gibson, mother of Eddie, who disappeared in Cambodia, and constantly ran into one brick wall after another.

I spoke to so many families who felt let down by the lack of understanding and concern shown about theMissing march 026ir situation, the need for prompt police action, perhaps setting up a police task force to deal with missing people, and knowing who and where they should turn to during their darkest days. Coming to terms with an unexplained disappearance without closure is very traumatic; these families need professionals who can help them through it.

I also met the devoted family of Raymond Scott, who still hope he will return to them one day, and Vinny Derrick’s loving family, as well as the two magMissing march 004nificent women who made the march happen – Nicki Durbin, mother of Luke who vanished in May 2006 aged 19, and Valerie Nettles, whose son Damien disappeared mysteriously in November 1996 when he was 16.

The march, from Marble Arch to Trafalgar Square, was followed by the names of missing people being read out. It was very moving. Daffodils were then placed on the ground.

One mother later slipped a piece of paper in my hand with the name of her missing son, Gavin Terry, 19, a student who vanished in Leeds on 12 January this year. Missing march 014The note says that police believe he may have drowned in the River Aire. We can only hope and pray that is not the case.

*Can everyone please urge their MP to sign an Early Day Motion proposed by Tory MP Ann Winterton urging the Government to provide support for families of missing people.

Ann Winterton would like a Missing Persons’ Bill to be introduced which would provide counselling for families, as well as helping them achieve widespread publicity. The Missing People charityMissing march 037 estimates 210,000 people are reported missing each year, it desperately needs more funding to help support familes.

I think this campaign must now build on its strengths from today. The organisers should be encouraged by its positive media coverage, and particularly the supportive network it provided for the families – who else can understand how they are feeling? I would like to see this become an annual march to ensure it remains high profile.

Well done Nicki and Val, you should be feeling very proud!!Missing march 031

I have updated my pics at the top of my site with a few I took at the march.

*Some YouTubes from the day can be found here.

Update: Tragically, Gavin Terry’s body has been recovered from the river. My deepest sympathies to his family.

In memory of those who are still missing.


  1. Norman, it was a pleasure to meet you and your wife too and I hope that Ann Winterton’s EDM is successful.

  2. Elle,
    It was good to meet you at the march and have a chat with you and may I say that I’m very impressed with your coverage of the march on this site.
    The Early Day Motion EDM1119 raised by my MP Ann Winterton in response to my communication to her is typical of the support that she has given my wife my family and I over the last 30 months since Steven went missing.
    She has opened doors that were firmly shut and enabled us to go forward on many issues and the one thing that having the support of your MP does for a family in our situation is , it takes away that awfull feeling of isolation you get and gives you the strength to carry on

  3. This is obviously an outstanding post that begs to be read by many. What is needed is for countries to come together through Interpol and make this crime so tough to commit and the penalty very harsh! I feel the police are just overwhelmed and this leads to apathy. However, the faces of the victim’s families are just heartbreaking. I’ve concluded these kidnappings are random, and yet certain patterns must be uncovered!

  4. David, thank you, I will do.

    And thank you to the families who sent me kind messages via facebook.

    I have also downloaded some videos of the march on YouTube.

  5. pop in next time please

  6. It was great to meet you yesterday at the March for the Missing.
    We all need to encourage people to support this Early Day Motion.
    This was the only opportunity I have had to speak to mothers and families affected by the trauma of a child going missing. It is a very isolating experience and there is no available counselling for families whose lives are devastated. My son Gavin Terry age 19 went missng in Leeds on a night out with student friends. He was last seen outside the Revolution nightclub on Calls Lane just after midnight on 12th January 2008.
    He has not been seen since.
    To have the support of professional counselling to assist family members with this ongoing trauma and a senior police officer who deals solely with missing persons would speed up the process of finding missing persons.

  7. well done ellee, must have been a really heartwarming if tragic day.

  8. What a sad day for everyone but I’m glad that it was a success. Thanks for sharing these photos Ellee.

  9. Well done, Ellee, for highlighting this tragic issue over nearly a year now, I believe? [Madeleine went missing at the beginning of May last year, if I remember rightly.] Agree there should be a bill, counselling and prompt action.

  10. An excellent campaign to make people aware that there are so many.

  11. Theo, Jeremy called me to discuss this, I don’t understand why, or whether he is having problems on other sites too.

  12. Just testing Jeremy Jacobs is having probs leaving comments.

  13. Thank you David, I walked by your office on my way to the underground, I almost popped in for a coffee.

  14. Great post Elle. You really do a good job on this issue and keep reminding me how important this subject is. Keep it up please.


  1. Ellee Seymour - MCIPR, PRESS CONSULTANT, JOURNALIST, POLITICAL AND PR BLOGGER. » Someone, somewhere knows what happened to Madeleine - [...] And my thoughts today are also with Steve Cook’s loving family (pic left) after he vanished in Crete in…
  2. Ellee Seymour - MCIPR, PRESS CONSULTANT, JOURNALIST, POLITICAL AND PR BLOGGER. » Shannon Matthews found alive and well - [...] Early Day Motion supports families of missing people [...]

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