Earlier this week, Kent Police announced that Matthew Green, who has been missing since 2010, had been found in Spain. Matthew had been reported missing by his parents Pauline and Jim after failing to return from a planned weekend away, six years ago.
For Pauline and Jim, the news that Matthew has been found alive, feels like “all our Christmases are come at once”. For years, the family has been living in limbo not knowing if Matthew was safe, desperately hoping that they would hear from him.
Now that Matthew has been found, a new, but equally difficult journey will begin. People who have been missing may have reasons for choosing not to restart contact with their families, and the laws surrounding a missing person’s right to privacy, and to go missing, can be difficult to bear for their loved ones.
Throughout the period that Matthew was missing, Pauline and Jim were supported by Missing People and worked closely with us so we could learn more about the experiences of families with a long term missing loved one. They also took part in Missing People’s Home for Christmas photography exhibition in 2015, where they were photographed standing outside their home, one of a small number of families photographed to represent the many thousands forced to endure the festive period with a much loved family member absent.
The Greens have said “The lovely team at the charity Missing People have been there for us from day one, through six, long years. In the darkest times of feeling as if the world had given up on Matthew, Missing People have been there to remind us that there were people who still cared. They got his appeal out on digital billboards, were there for us 24/7 at the end of the phone and most importantly never gave up hope. We hope that our news gives hope to the other families waiting for news.”
While this week’s news may bring hope to many of these families, it can also be a difficult time for so many who are hoping for the same outcome. We are here for those families 24/7 at the end of the phone, by text and email, to offer them support and advice through our helpline, 116 000. Our thoughts continue to be with Pauline, Jim and Matthew, as well as all of those families still waiting for news, especially those who are finding this news difficult to deal with while they continue to wait for a resolution.