May 25 2013 Latest news:
By Tom Potter and Craig Robinson
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
THE mother of a Suffolk man who was missing in Thailand has thanked everyone for their support after he was found alive.
Tom Armstrong, 22, from Kelsale, near Saxmundham, was due to fly home on January 8 but he did not board his flight.
He had not been in touch with his family since and his disappearance sparked an international hunt.
His father, Kingsley Armstrong, flew out to Thailand earlier this month to help Interpol and the local authorities search for his son, who was completing a dive master course on the island of Koh Tao.
Suffolk police confirmed yesterday that Tom has now been found “safe and well”.
His mother, Helen Armstrong-Bland, said Kingsley had been in email contact with Tom and that they had met in Bangkok.
“We’re in the very early stages and don’t yet know exactly what went on – but he is safe and that’s really good news,” she said. “It’s all that matters.
“I’m not sure if he is aware of just how much coverage this has had in the media.
“I just want to thank everyone in the Saxmundham community, our close friends and family, and people from all over the world – complete strangers.
“We wouldn’t have found him without them.”
Kingsley added: “We will be taking Tom out of Bangkok for a few days to prepare for the flight home.
“Thanks to all the people who helped both in this England and Thailand, there are too many to mention all, but a heart felt thank you to Darryl Daugherty who first made contact with Tom, Peter Fretton, Thai police liaison and Missing Abroad.”
Tom’s disappearance sparked an international hunt – with an online appeal through social networking website Facebook revealing a potential sighting in the centre of Bangkok.
It came almost three weeks after police revealed that money was withdrawn from his bank account in the city.
Mrs Armstrong-Bland said an auction of promises planned for this Friday in aid of Missing Abroad would still be going ahead,
“I always said it would be great if Tom was back home for it,” she said.
The fundraiser is happening at 7pm in Saxmundham Town Hall.