Daughter of missing woman speaks as search continues

Barbara Colling.

Police officers search for the missing woman Barbara Colling in country between Helmsley and Stokesley.

Police officers search for the missing woman Barbara Colling in country between Helmsley and Stokesley.

A helicopter joins the search for the missing woman Barbara Colling in country between Helmsley and Stokesley.

First published in News
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York Press: Photograph of the Author by

THE daughter of a missing North Yorkshire woman has spoken of how her family is trying to remain positive as the search for her continues.

Grandmother Barbara Colling, 68, from Helmsley, has not been sighted since 8.30am on Monday when she was seen walking from her home town towards Stokesley, on the opposite side of the North York Moors.

Her family is especially concerned as Mrs Colling suffers from dementia and would not normally walk out of Helmsley.

Despite an extensive search involving police officers, search and rescue teams, helicopters and a specialist search dog, Mrs Colling has still not been found.

A Facebook appeal to help find her has been shared many thousands of times.

Her daughter Lizzy Firmin said today: “We are trying to stay focused and positive. Today I have been going out and trying to look and help in every way I can but you just feel so helpless.

“She does suffer from dementia. She is extremely familiar with Helmsley and strictly follows a walking route. It’s very uncharacteristic for her not to follow it, which makes it more concerning if she has deviated from the route.

“She would never normally walk along the main road near Helmsley or out of Helmsley.”

Mrs Colling, a former primary school teacher, moved to Helmsley 13 years ago soon after retiring.

There have been a number of possible sightings of her in the Laskill area, reported to the police since she went missing.

The last of these was near Newgate woods, at 11.15am on Tuesday. Officers searched the woods but were unable to locate her.

Mrs Firmin, 37, said her brother Rob Colling 39, was travelling back from Finland to help with the search.

She said: “If people see anything at all, please come forward and let the police know, even if you think it’s insignificant. You never know it could lead somewhere and could help us find her.”

Mrs Colling is described as white, 5ft 2in tall with a medium build and medium length blonde hair.

When last seen she wearing a navy blue jacket, blue trousers, a black woollen hat with ear flaps and black boots and is thought to have been carrying a black rucksack.

Insp Richard Mallinson, of North Yorkshire Police, said: “I would like to thank all those members of the public who have already reported potential sightings of Barbara and urge anyone else who may have seen her in the area to contact the police immediately.

“I am particularly asking farmers and people who work in the local area to keep checking their outbuildings and sheds in case Barbara has taken shelter in them.”

Anyone who can help in the search is urged to contact North Yorkshire Police on 101 immediately.

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