We are delighted to recognise the Founders of the charity Missing People (formerly the National Missing Persons Helpline), sisters Mary Asprey OBE and Janet Newman OBE.
Mary and Janet started the charity in response to the disappearance of Suzy Lamplugh from Fulham in 1986. From a bedroom at the sisters' home in London they launched a free helpline for families, and those with information about the whereabouts of vulnerable missing people. Mary, Janet and a team of dedicated volunteers were overwhelmed at the volume of people making contact.
In April 1993, having re-mortgaged their houses to do so, Mary and Janet registered National Missing Persons Helpline as a charity. This success was cemented with a visit from Diana, Princess of Wales.
Following this, Mary and Janet were both honoured with OBEs as well as accolades including: 'UK Women of Europe Award'; European Women of Achievement Humanitarianism Award; and The Rotary Foundation's prestigious Paul Harris Fellowships.
In 2004 Mary and Janet stepped down from their roles at Missing People. They launched the Missing Foundation to help link specialised organisations dealing with missing people around the world. In June 2016, the Missing People community was saddened to hear of the death of Janet Newman. Jo Youle, Chief Executive of Missing People said: “Janet, along with her sister Mary, have created something truly special. When Suzy Lamplugh disappeared the sisters joined the search. That support for one missing loved one, one desperate community, led to an organisation that now helps thousands of people every year.
I was always inspired when I met Janet. She could light up the room, spoke powerfully with conviction and her tenacity and drive is something the charity continues to this day. We have lost a remarkable woman. We will hold her ethos in our hearts.”