Family and friends to pay final respects to Barbara Colling
THE family and friends of Barbara Colling will pay their last respects when she is laid to rest tomorrow.
The 68-year-old had been missing for more than two weeks after setting off for a walk from Helmsley to Stokesley on Monday, January 29.
Her disappearance sparked one of the “most challenging investigations” in recent memory for Ryedale’s police force with hundreds of people involved in the search to find her.
Sadly, Barbara’s body was discovered on Hawnby Moor on Wednesday last week.
Present on every day of the search were her son and daughter, Rob Colling and Lizzy Firmin, who have thanked all those people that helped in the search for their mum.
“We have been left devastated by the tragic loss of our mum and will miss her terribly,” they said in a joint statement.
“We would very much like to thank mountain rescue, the rangers, the RAF and all of the volunteers who gave up their time and were involved with the search for mum.
“Their efforts are deeply appreciated.
“The support the local community has given the family has been wonderful and a great comfort.
“We would also like to thank the police officers for their thoughtfulness and support during a very difficult time.
“Finally, we pass on our gratitude for all of the dedicated media coverage throughout the search.
“As a family, we now need some time and privacy to come to terms with our loss.”
At the height of the investigation, more than 150 people, with some from as far away as Wetherby, had responded to a police appeal asking for help to find Barbara.
Mountain rescue teams, specially-trained police officers, sniffer dogs, rangers from the North York Moors National Park, local gamekeepers, and members of the public searched moorland and woodland in the area but to no avail.
The search was complicated in that Barbara, a physically fit woman, was suffering from Alzheimer’s and the police search advisors reasoned it was in the realm of possibility that she could have walked up to 21 miles.
But it was on Wednesday last week when a gamekeeper stumbled across her body, 200 metres from a minor road on Hawnby moor, a bleak part of the landscape not typically frequented by walkers.
Inspector Andy Everitt, commander of Ryedale’s Safer Neighbourhood Police Team, told the Mercury: “From my perspective, this was one of the most challenging investigations that we have had in Ryedale in recent times and I have been overwhelmed by the support of the community in being prepared to come out and join police and search and rescue teams to locate Barbara.
“Our hypothesis was always that she was laying somewhere on the moors in the Bilsdale area and the finding of her body on Hawnby Moor proved this to be correct.
“Plans had already been made to widen the search area which included where Barbara’s body was eventually found.
He added: “Barbara’s family, Lizzie and Rob, have been stoical and resolute throughout the search phase and have joined in every day with either ourselves or the national park rangers. This now brings closure for Barbara’s family and the community who have worked tirelessly to locate her and I would like to thank everybody involved in whatever capacity they were acting in doing this difficult and challenging search investigation.”
The funeral of Barbara which is open to friends and family will take place at All Saints’ Church, Helmsley, tomorrow.
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Weather for Malton
Thursday 20 June 2013
Temperature: 11 C to 15 C
Wind Speed: 15 mph
Wind direction: East
Temperature: 11 C to 15 C
Wind Speed: 10 mph
Wind direction: North east