By Suzanne Jordan: A group of Cheshire volunteers have flown out to Greece to help in the search for a missing runner from Alsager.
John Lawton, 62, disappeared while taking part in a Taygetos Marathon near Kalamata in Greece.
Funds have now been raised by family and friends and 15 volunteers from Cheshire Search and Rescue have set out after an ‘official’ search taking place in the region was called off.
The news has come as a relief to John’s son Steve, who is out in Greece helping the search.
Cheshire Search and Rescue Team Leader Jo McClure said: “John is a keen marathon runner.
“We know he past check point four safely [in the race] but between check point four and check point five he went missing and he remains missing to this current day.
“The family contacted us to see if we would get involved in the search. We wanted to see if it was feasible to go out there and the big problem, like with any charity, was funding. We pushed a public appeal out which was really good; the response has been amazing.
“The family are in an unbearable position. There has been no sightings, nothing.”
Jo stressed the family still needs to raise more funds to buy maps, knives, flares and hire vehicles to travel across the terrain. A text message campaign has been set up so the public can donate to ensure the search continues.
“We have two search managers that are going out first. They are taking climbing equipment with them because of the mountain. We are working with another rescue team so hopefully between the two organisations we can have more coverage of the area.
“I am in touch with a lot of the family members and also friends of the family. It is becoming personal now.”
Steve, 42, told StaffsLive: “Through lobbying and support from the UK we have had a longer search than what would be the norm.
“One of the reasons for that is that we know that we are in a very confined area, he is missing in a very specified mountain area.”