Missing people urged to send a message home this Christmas
A CAMPAIGN has been launched to distribute 10,000 freepost cards for missing people to send a message home this Christmas.
Royal Mail and the charity Missing People have joined forces to encourage people who are estranged from their families to send a message to their loved ones.
The cards will be distributed in homeless shelters, day centres and hostels and broadcaster Stephen Fry, who himself went missing, is backing the campaign.
"When someone goes missing it's very distressing for all concerned. I can testify to that because many years ago, I went missing," he said.
"It caused enormous distress to my family, my friends and obviously to me as well. But one of the hardest things was being able to get back in touch, to reconnect.
"Missing People is a group of people who are caring and professional and have great expertise in this field.
"As this year ends, they've connected with Royal Mail to create a rather wonderful scheme which allows anybody to write to Freepost Missing People and that letter will get you in touch with whoever it is that you want to talk to.
"It will be dealt with, the love and compassion that Missing People show. It might help you reconnect and it might help, if you are missing someone, to slowly reconnect. I hope this wonderful scheme will help people and may reunite them with someone they love."
Once a person who is missing or away from home contacts the charity by returning the Freepost card, Missing People will get in touch with them.
The charity will then contact the person's family and ask if they're willing to receive a message. The family is given the opportunity to pass a message back, provided they are happy to receive one.
The charity will not disclose the location of the missing person unless that is what they want.
Terrie Beardsley, whose husband Tim has been missing since 2012, said: "When someone you love has been missing for a long time, you have no idea if they are happy or okay.
"The thought of hearing that they are safe and well, even if it doesn’t feel right to come home, would mean the world after years spent wondering.
"Now people who are away from home have a new, free option available to them if they want to get back in touch. I hope that this project means that other people like me who are missing someone and waiting will get the news they have been hoping for."
Gary Grange from Ryal Mail said: "We hope that those who are missing see the Message Home cards this Christmas and families can be reunited - or at least have their worries slightly eased - this festive season".