PRAYERS from around the world are being said for missing sailor Timothy MacColl.
The seaman, who lives with his wife Rachael and young children in Gosport, has not been seen since entering a taxi alone in Dubai in the early hours of May 27.
Now his worried family have turned to the internet in their desperate attempts to bring the devoted dad – known as ‘Timmy’ – home.
Last night, a Facebook group called ‘Bring Timmy Home’ had already attracted nearly 70,000 members and was full of people leaving messages of support, which has spawned a yellow ribbon awareness campaign.
And an open church service will be held for Mr MacColl at St Mary the Virgin Church in Rowner between 11am and 1pm today.
His mum Sheena MacColl travelled from her home in Killin, Scotland, to be with her son’s pregnant wife Rachael, and children Cameron, seven, and Skye, four.
She told The News: ‘I’ve been trying to keep myself busy and trying to keep going for the kids and Rachael.
‘There’s so much support out there – everyone has done so much for us.
‘Timothy is just a normal guy who lives for his wife and kids.
‘It’s out of character for him, he stays in touch with everyone.
‘I keep hoping for the best. I just pray that something happens and we get some news soon.’
Mr MacColl is a crew member on HMS Westminster, which arrived in Dubai on May 26.
The married father-of two, whose wife is expecting their third child in October, was last seen by a shipmate getting into a taxi alone at about 2am on May 27.
He is said to have just left the Rock Bottom Bar at the Regent Hotel in the area of Deira, about a 15-minute drive from Port Rashid, where HMS Westminster was docked.
The Royal Navy has confirmed a member of HMS Westminster’s crew is missing in Dubai and said it is working with local authorities and Foreign Office representatives in the United Arab Emirates to find him.
Crew members from Westminster walked the route he had taken and spoke to members of the public to gather information, but the ship has now left the country.
Mrs MacColl’s grandparents Brenda and Jim Cunningham, of Titchfield Common, say they have been ‘completely overwhelmed’ by the support the family has received online.
Mrs Cunningham said: ‘We have no news yet but we are hopeful something will turn up soon.
‘Rachael heard from the Royal Navy on Tuesday. It was a real shock, we all went numb. Rachael has been strong and very brave. She has had bad moments, like us all, but she has been brave for Timmy – she just wants him home. Timmy wants to be found and that’s what Rachael clings to.’
Fr John Draper, rector of Rowmer, who will be holding today’s service for Mr MacColl, said: ‘The community is a very tight-knit one, where people look out for each other. Every service family will know the stress involved of having a loved one serving away from home and will imagine themselves in such a situation as Timmy’s and his family.
‘Anyone can come in between 11am and 1pm and just sit, or pray, or read, or listen to music, or light a candle.’
Celebrities spread message in search for missing dad
THOUSANDS of people from across the globe have joined the search for Timothy MacColl via the internet.
Visitors to the Facebook group have been offering messages of support and advice as they look to spread the message around the world.
While former footballer Graeme Le Saux and actor Michael Le Vell, who plays Kevin Webster in Coronation Street, used their Twitter accounts to help raise awareness of the missing sailor.
Brenda Cunningham, the grandmother of Mr MacColl’s wife Rachael, said the family had been glued to the social networking sites as they wait for news.
She said: ‘The campaign was set up on Facebook on Saturday and we have had thousands of people join it already. Everyone is emailing and contacting us.
‘We have had lots of help from Dubai, from ex-pats and people working over there.
‘People in America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand have been in touch.’
She said their efforts need as much publicity as possible as the nation celebrates Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee.
Mrs Cunningham added: ‘He’s one of the Queen’s servicemen so he wouldn’t want to put a downer on the Jubilee but we need to keep it in people’s thoughts and memories.
‘We are trying to comment on everything we can on the group so people know the family are reading everything people put on there.
‘We appreciate what everyone is doing for us. We take off good information and ideas and put them into practice straight away.’
To join the group, visit facebook.com/groups/bringtimmyhome