Service to remember the missing

The search continues for missing strudent Antoine Maury.  Antoine's sister, Emilia Maury and mother Laura Vesterinen-Maury. Pic: Toby Williams

The search continues for missing strudent Antoine Maury. Antoine's sister, Emilia Maury and mother Laura Vesterinen-Maury. Pic: Toby Williams

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The pain of a missing relative can be desperate – particularly during the festive period.

Now a special city centre service featuring X Factor stars G4 aims to bring hope to their families.

Collect of missing French student Antoine Maury.

Collect of missing French student Antoine Maury.

Each year, the charity Missing People holds carol services around the UK and this year will see the first ever event held in Scotland on December 6 in St John’s Church on Princes Street.

Police Scotland received more than 40,000 calls about missing people last year and the poignant concert will show support for those in Scotland who bear the pain of a missing relative.

G4 member Ben Thapa, who was reunited with his father after falling out of contact for many years, said: “Anyone who has experienced a missing loved one knows that their absence is felt every single day.

“We’re thrilled to be joining Missing People in Edinburgh this Christmas to lend our voices to this very special concert to remember those who are missing.

“This vital charity works tirelessly to help find those who are missing and make them safe, whilst helping their families through the hardest times imaginable and we are proud to support them.”

Readings will be given by Superintendent Andy McKay, the national missing persons strategic coordinator at Police Scotland, and Annabelle Ewing MSP, Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs.

The service also marks a milestone in the charity’s relationship with the People’s Postcode Lottery.

Clara Govier, head of charities at the lottery said: “We’re delighted to be joining Missing People and their supporters at their Edinburgh Carol Service to recognise a phenomenal milestone – our players raising their four millionth pound for the charity.

“It’s a source of great pride for us that these funds allow the charity to make a huge difference to the lives of those affected by a disappearance.”

Tickets for the service are available online at www.missingpeople.org.uk/localcarols. Those wishing to attend who have personal experience of having a loved one missing are invited to attend for free and to e-mail families@missingpeople.org.uk to arrange their reserved place.

Josie Allan, regional manager for Missing People said: “Across the UK, someone goes missing every two minutes. For their families, the thought of an empty chair at the Christmas dinner table is truly heart-breaking.

“We’re hoping that the Carol Service at St John’s will help bring comfort and hope to all those families missing a loved one this Christmas and we are looking forward to the community coming together to support them.”

Ticket proceeds will go towards the charity’s “Home for Christmas” campaign which hopes to raise funds to enable its free, 24-hour, confidential helpline 116 000 to run for the week between Christmas and New Year.