charitylarge2.jpgMy chosen charity for this event is Missing People, formerly known as the National Missing Person’s Helpline. It is the UK’s only charity that works with young runaways, missing and unidentified people, their families and others who care for them. This is a very special charity for me, as my cousin and good friend Blake Hartley, went missing two days after his 25th birthday in Chamonix, France, on the 8th August, 2004. He disappeared without a trace. This challenge is dedicated to him, and is very appropriate as it finishes in France where he tragically went missing.

For more information on the charity and Blake please click on the approptiate link below:

http://www.missingpeople.org.uk/

http://www.blakehartley.com/

Please also take the time read this from my Auntie Sally

I am Tom’s Auntie Sally, Blake Hartley’s mum. I think I am quite lucky in many ways. For a start I was lucky enough to have Blake around in life my for 25 wonderful years and even though tragically he went missing, after searching intensely for two and a half years, I did eventually find some remains of his, so at least now I know he died, in fact I know he drowned and I know in which river and only a few weeks ago we had a funeral. I have a conclusion of sorts. I may never get to know exactly what happened the night he went into river and how or why, but I know enough to be able to mourn him, to grieve for him and hopefully at some point to be able to achieve some form of closure.

Now under those circumstances you may be wondering why I consider myself lucky. Well, even though initially Blake was missing for a long period of time eventually I did get an answer. Many parents or relations of missing people are not so lucky. Their children or loved ones go missing and they may never find out what happened to them, for them every day is spent wondering about that person, are they still alive, if so where are they and why did they go missing, where do we search, if not this place then where else, how can we search, do they want to be found? Did they go missing by their own volition, or were they killed in an accident or worse, were they murdered? Did they suffer, are they suffering, are they safe, happy, sad, dead, alive, and so and so on, around and around in circles.

It is the ‘not knowing’ that gets to you, if you know what has happened, however awful, you can deal with it, but to ‘not know and to never know’ can destroy you.

Every day, numerous times a day, unanswered questions swirl through your mind. I should know, I spent two and a half years in that state and believe me, it is not a good place to be. It is a tortuous and painful place to be, it consumes your whole life. The whole family suffers, friends, neighbours, people you hardly know but have read about the ongoing saga in the newspapers and watched it on the television; everybody needs a answer, and that is why the charity Missing People was formed, to help find missing people and to support those left behind. It is an invaluable service and is run solely by charitable contributions, so please support Tom as much as you can.

There is nothing more devastating than literally loosing a child or relation and never finding out what happened to them.