Red Cross in Grantham remembers those missing in war and conflict

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Sixty balloons were released at Grantham’s British Red Cross offices on Friday in commemoration of those people who have disappeared as a result of conflict or war.

There are 60 ongoing cases in the region and the Red Cross is trying to find them through its International Family Tracing Service. The balloons were released on the International Day of the Disappeared.

Balloons are released at the British Red Cross offices in Grantham to mark International Day of the Disappeared. Photo: 0148A

Balloons are released at the British Red Cross offices in Grantham to mark International Day of the Disappeared. Photo: 0148A

At the ceremony were Frank Patterson, of Horncastle, and his sister Heather Redshaw. Their Polish father served in the RAF during the war and settled in England afterwards where he married. But a few years later he left the family and returned to Poland. A few years ago the Red Cross discovered that Mr Patterson’s father had died in the 1990s but he had a daughter, Frank and Heather’s half-sister, who has two daughters of her own.

Frank said: “We are so grateful to the Red Cross for all they have done because the impact is absolutely unbelieveable. It has brought our family together.”

Tracing caseworker Tim Hollis, a former police detective just like Mr Patterson, found the family in Poland. He said there were cases all over the world in such places as Iraq and Somalia, with the conflict in Syria likely to produce more.

Mr Patterson and other family members will fly out to Warsaw in Poland on October 8 to meet their new-found family .

If you would like to know more about the International Family Tracing Service go to www.redcross.org.uk/trace