The mother of a teenager who went missing from Suffolk 12 years ago has embarked on a new career, working for the charity that has provided support throughout her ordeal.
Nicki Durbin’s son Luke was 19 when he disappeared after a night out in Ipswich, on 12 May 2006. The last known sighting was on CCTV as he walked towards a bus station at 4am. Despite numerous appeals for information by the Police and family, Luke has not been found.
Missing People, the only UK charity dedicated to reuniting missing children and adults with their loved ones, has supported Nicki and her family for several years. 12 years on and although Luke remains missing, Nicki has decided to use her personal experience and unique understanding of the issue to support others via the charity’s crisis helpline.
Nicki said: “When Luke went missing, my life irreversibly changed. I constantly grieve for Luke but I'm unable to mourn for my child. You’re left living in limbo and feeling isolated. Missing People not only helped my family with the ongoing emotional impact of losing Luke but also helped generate publicity to keep the search for him alive. With no new news, families with missing loved ones can struggle to retain media interest as the days turn into months and the months into years.”
Every 90 seconds, somebody goes missing in the UK. Missing People operates a 24 hour helpline, made possible by support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery. Staff and volunteers work around the clock to take calls, text messages and emails from vulnerable people who are away from home, as well as the families struggling to cope with the disappearance of a loved one. The team also circulate daily publicity appeals for people who have gone missing across the UK.
Paul Joseph, Head of Helplines, said: “It is a real testament to the excellent support our helpline team give that Nicki was inspired to want to work for us. It is great that she successfully went through our recruitment process and got the role, and is already valued member of the team, delivering support to anyone affected by the missing issue.”
Nicki added: “It’s not just family members who call the helpline. I regularly speak to vulnerable people who are missing, or thinking of leaving home as well. Whoever it is, my training and understanding means that I can offer non-judgmental support and a safe space for them to talk about their situation, and hopefully, I can help them to find comfort or a safe way home."