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Home For Christmas

Player-supported charity Missing People are working to reunite families this festive period

Someone goes missing every 90 seconds in the UK and it's estimated that more than 1 million people are affected by a disappearance every year. An empty seat at the dinner table and a collection of unopened presents can make Christmas a particularly difficult time of year for families with a missing loved one.

Player-supported charity Missing People have launched their Home For Christmas campaign, which hopes to reunite families, and raise awareness of the issue over the festive period.

The following story from Bek Stratfield is just one example of the pain and anguish some people face, and of how the team at Missing People are there to support families, not just at Christmas, but all year round.

Bek said, "There has been nothing in my life more frightening than the reality of my son going missing. That is where my story starts.

I will never forget the 8th July 2017. Finn, then 17, went missing from our home town in Tintagel, Cornwall.

The shock, trauma, disbelief and chaos of the loss are all consuming. I had no choice but to kick myself into action to start searching for my son. Days, weeks and months have passed since I last saw Finn. I have faced many difficult and new situations, as well as trying to keep balance in my life for my younger son.

Myself, Finn's family and friends all love and miss him so much. I miss his beautiful, intelligent inquisitive mind and ideas. I miss laughing and sitting in front of the fire listening to music with him. I miss watching him grow into a lovely young man with his whole exciting future in front of him.

Every day is difficult without Finn but days such as birthdays and Christmas are especially hard to get through.

A week after Finn went missing, a friend put me in touch with the charity Missing People. Instantly, the help and support from the charity was there in amongst the chaos. With everything going on around me, Missing People was a lifeline.

Caroline, my family support worker was assigned to me as soon as I reported Finn as a missing person. Since then, she has been by my side, to help and advise me through this journey so far which has been invaluable.

I know that I have the support of Missing People 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Knowing that I have Caroline and the rest of the charity behind me has made a big difference. I will always know I have that support to turn to.

The thought of having your child missing is such a difficult situation for people to comprehend. I am lucky to have my family and friends as my anchors, but this can be a very lonely place. Caroline and the helpline team understand very clearly how tough this is. Finn is always at the forefront of my mind, while he is not here I feel Missing People are by my side to help me."

With 180,000 people going missing each year, Bek's story is sadly just one of many. Missing People is the only charity in the UK that supports people who go missing, as well as the families and friends left behind.

Players have raised over £5 Million for Missing People. That equates to more than 5,000 days of keeping the 24/7 helpline running around the clock to provide emotional support to families struggling to cope with the disappearance of a loved one.

Players of People's Postcode Lottery are invited to join the charity and its supporters this December at one of their annual Carol Services in London or Edinburgh.

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Missing People's helpline runs 24 hours a day supporting families and those looking to be reunited
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