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Focus on fashion at York Races
THOUSANDS of people descended on York Racecourse to enjoy the July meeting, but it was an event tinged with sadness for one York family.
Peter Lawrence, father of missing chef Claudia, spent his 66th birthday at the races with his family, including Claudia’s sister Ali, and spoke of his hopes for finding his daughter who disappeared in 2009.
James Brennan, marketing manager for York Racecourse, said about 10,000 people attended yesterday’s event, and even more were expected for today’s John Smith’s Cup.
He said: “It’s been lovely to see people standing round in short sleeves and summer dresses. You could even have got away with a picnic. Compared to a very soggy Thirsk and dramatic storms at Newmarket, it’s been miraculous.”
Yesterday, marked 40 months since Claudia went missing, and Mr Lawrence thanked York Racecourse for their support, including putting an appeal in yesterday’s racecard.
He said: “It just feels empty. It’s great to have Ali here for the first time, but we both very much miss Claudia.”
Mr Lawrence said the reported sighting of Claudia in Amsterdam was being investigated by police, who had told him “there’s not a lot to go on”.
Ali said the family had never thought the search for Claudia would reach 40 months: “When it happened, we never looked three months or a week ahead.
“My eldest son Luke still asks about her. His brother, Joshua, starts school in September. The last time Claudia saw him, he was a baby. There are photos [of her] up in our lounge and he knows that she’s my sister, but asks ‘who is that lady’. He has no memory of her, but Luke knows Auntie Claudia is missing and that’s all.”
Mr Lawrence said: “I don’t get my hopes up because she’s supposedly been seen in so many places, I just can’t imagine her walking around freely in a city anywhere she would have been in touch. Someone out there does know what happened to Claudia and after all this time, they really need to put us out of our misery.”