Son thanks 999 heroes for finding dad

A RELIEVED son today thanked the emergency services for doing a “fantastic” job in finding his 82-year-old father after he went missing near Ipswich.

Simon Tomlinson

A RELIEVED son today thanked the emergency services for doing a “fantastic” job in finding his 82-year-old father after he went missing near Ipswich.

Eric Jay, who suffers from Alzheimer's disease, triggered a massive search operation when he disappeared while out walking in Shotley.

More than 20 police officers with dogs joined the search for the pensioner along with the police helicopter and the Suffolk Lowland Search and Rescue team, after he was spotted heading towards marshland near the village.

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Thames Coastguard also dispatched an auxiliary volunteer force from Holbrook at around 11pm on Monday to search fields and coastal areas.

A police dog eventually found Mr Jay lying among long grass in a confused state and suffering from the cold in a field near neighbouring Erwarton at 1am.

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Mr Jay's son, Trevor, said his father was exhausted from the ordeal, but in good health as he recovered at home today.

He said: “He doesn't remember what happened. I showed him the piece in yesterday's paper that said a man had gone missing and he said 'I wonder who that was then?'”

Trevor, of Orwell View, Shotley, said he received a call from someone in the village at around 8pm to say they had seen his father walk past their house several times.

Eric, of Garden Close, Shotley, had become disorientated and headed out of the village, while members of the close-knit family and neighbours began a desperate search for him.

Trevor, 58, said: “We went out looking for him but by the time we realised we weren't going to find him, it was getting dark and we needed help.

“The emergency services were very quick. They were excellent and did a fantastic job. They couldn't have done any more. I would like to thank them and the neighbours and relatives who helped.”

A spokeswoman for Suffolk Police said: “We were called at 9.50pm by the missing man's son, who was concerned as his father had left his home in Shotley around three hours earlier and had not returned.

“The man is 82 and was considered extremely vulnerable. Local units and the force helicopter were immediately mobilised to search for him.

“At 1.15am the missing man was found in a field in Erwarton by one of the dog handlers. He was tired and wet but otherwise well, an ambulance crew checked him over as a precaution once he had been returned home.”

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