Andrew Gosden went missing in September 2007, aged 14 years old. Today, 10th of July 2023 is Andrew’s 30th birthday. To mark this difficult day, Andrew’s father Kevin has written the following piece to reflect on an oak tree they grew together and the hope it brings for the future.
This year marks Andrew’s 30th birthday and 16 years since he went missing in 2007. I think he was 10 when he read that an oak tree kept in a tub would become a fully mature tree, but in miniature because the roots were constrained from growing fully. At the time, I picked up a few acorns and we planted these in a tub to test this theory. Half a dozen grew and I gradually replanted them over the years, keeping one for our own back garden. Last year, it produced its first acorns, showing that, while still only about 6 feet/2 metres tall, it has matured as Andrew predicted.
Almost every day since he disappeared, I have struggled with crippling anxiety and depression, to the extent that it is barely possible to function. No matter how many years pass by without him, those feelings never change and are often intensified by seemingly small things that would not have been a problem before he vanished. After all the searching, appealing, praying and hoping, we all still miss him intensely every single day; it never seems to become easier.
In the Missing People offices, there is a “tree”, one of the leaves is inscribed with his name and our message to him. There are too many inscribed leaves on this tree, too many loved ones missed each and every day. There are too many families left bewildered, wondering, searching, hoping and praying; longing for an answer, any answer, no matter how difficult that answer could be.
Missing People have tirelessly supported us through these years, as they do with so many families. In addition, every month sees appeals that help find missing children and adults. The Helpline is available to those thinking of going missing or that have gone missing and find themselves in difficulty.
As Andrew’s oak tree bears the fruit of the acorn, we hope that awareness of his case bears the fruit that others are helped to find positive solutions in their lives and that other families are spared the pain that too many of us live with every day.
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