9:30am Saturday 14th April 2012
By Kate Liptrot
THE father of missing York chef Claudia Lawrence has been nominated for a Community Pride Award by one of her closest friends.
Peter Lawrence, 65, of Larchfield, York, has been nominated as Person Of The Year in The Press awards by Claudia’s friend Jennifer King, for his efforts to find his daughter and to campaign on behalf of the families of missing people. Following his daughter’s disappearance in 2009, Mr Lawrence has led a campaign for new legislation to make it easier for those dealing with a missing person’s estate.
Ms King said: “Peter has tirelessly campaigned for the search of his missing daughter and our friend Claudia Lawrence; not only that, he has also been a key campaigner for the rights of families of missing people – taking this all the way to parliament to lobby that those left behind are given the support they need when a loved one goes missing. He wants to introduce measures for institutions such as banks to take into account the unique circumstances faced by the missing person’s family and next of kin by allowing the families to take control of the practicalities such as bank accounts and insurances under the presumption of death.
“Selflessly he has done this while his own daughter remains missing, presumed murdered and not seen since March 2009. Through his own experiences he has dedicated himself to the cause that would mean so much to so many.”
Claudia, whose 38th birthday fell in February, was reported missing after failing to turn up for work at the University of York. She was 35 when she vanished.
Peter said: “I’m surprised and extremely flattered anyone should consider me for such an award. It’s obviously nothing I would seek, but it’s very kind that I should be nominated.
“I think it’s such an important issue that I felt it was right to use my skills to campaign which we are still doing. I’m doing it to help others. I have met many of these people down at Missing People headquarters. It’s such a ridiculous position people are in and a very difficult position for them. It hits you very, very shortly after a loved one goes missing when you are emotionally at your lowest ebb.
“I’m prepared to keep campaigning until we get a positive response.”
Mr Lawrence is currently awaiting a response from Justice Secretary Ken Clarke, over the recommendations of the Justice Select Committee that there should be better help for the families of missing people and a guardianship arrangement for the affairs of missing people.
The Community Pride Awards, which will have a York 800 theme this year, are run in partnership with City of York Council and sponsored by Benenden Healthcare.
You can nominate by visiting yorkpress.co.uk/news/ communitypride/
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