Peter Lawrence, the father of missing Claudia, has been awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.
Claudia Lawrence went missing from York in 2009, aged 35. In the years that followed, Peter’s dedication to searching for his missing daughter evolved and he became a steadfast supporter, volunteer, and campaigner for the charity.
Last year, a Private Members Bill was read in the House of Commons to introduce a new law granting guardianship power to families of missing people. This means that families like Peter’s will finally be able to step in and manage a missing loved one’s property and finances to prevent the world they hope they will return to from falling apart. Peter played an instrumental role as one of the families backing the campaign for almost 6 years, and was present to watch the Guardianship (Missing Persons) Act pass successfully through each stage of Parliament to finally receive Royal Assent in May 2017.
Previous to this, Peter was also heavily involved with securing the new Presumption of Death system, which now allows families to easily apply for a certificate enabling them to resolve the affairs of a missing loved one who it is believed has died.
Jo Youle, Chief Executive, said: “Peter’s tireless campaigning to raise awareness and generate change shows his commitment to helping other families. It has been inspiring to witness his unwavering dedication to preventing others from going through the same difficult experiences he faced when his daughter disappeared. We couldn’t be more delighted that Peter has been recognised in this way and we congratulate him on this exceptional accolade.”
Despite receiving Royal Assent last year, the introduction of new guardianship legislation for the families of missing people has been delayed with no new date confirmed.
This further delay leaves thousands of families who desperately need this legislation in limbo. People who had hoped to finally be able to manage their loved one’s affairs are forced to continue to watch their finances fall apart. Tragically in the coming months more people will go missing and new families will be faced with financial and legal hardship that they have no legal framework to manage.
Peter and the charity continue to campaign for this essential legislation, and won’t rest until Guardianship is fully introduced.