Friends and well-wishers attend candle vigil for missing sailor Timmy

Candlelit vigil For Timmy MacColl held at St Mary the Virgin Church in Rowner.''PICTURE: Paul Jacobs
Candlelit vigil For Timmy MacColl held at St Mary the Virgin Church in Rowner.''PICTURE: Paul Jacobs

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CANDLES were lit yesterday at a vigil for missing sailor Timmy MacColl.

Friends, family and members of the community gave a show of strength by attending a service held especially for the leading seaman at the St Mary the Virgin Church in Rowner, Gosport.

Timmy MacColl

Timmy MacColl

The father-of-two, who lives with wife Rachael and two children in Gosport, was reported missing in Dubai on May 27.

Mr MacColl, a crew member on HMS Westminster, was last seen getting into a taxi in the early hours after leaving a bar.

People young and old formed a line to light candles in the centre of the church hall and prayers were said by Fr John Draper, rector of Rowner, and Royal Navy chaplains during the two-hour vigil.

Yellow ribbons were handed out by friends to raise awareness – some were even tied round trees in and around the church grounds, as pictured above.

Daniel Clark, 29, from Portsmouth, served on two ships with Mr MacColl and said he was ‘someone you could rely on’.

Mr Clark, who attended with his partner Sammy Arnold, said efforts were being made to make Mr MacColl’s disappearance known worldwide over the internet.

More than 85,000 people have joined a Facebook group called ‘Bring Timmy Home’.

He said: ‘We want to raise awareness as much as we can and get it trending worldwide on Twitter. He’s just a brilliant family man that would do anything for you.’

Joanne Downie, a leading seaman for the Royal Navy, took her children Lucy, seven, and Chloe, four.

The 29-year-old, of Rowner, said: ‘It was important to come to show our strength. The naval comeraderie is strong and this needs the publicity it deserves.’

Derek and Lesley Connor, of Mandarin Way, Gosport, are friends of the MacColls through the Crossley Community Centre.

Mrs Connor, 53, said: ‘We are ex-army so we know what she’s going through.

‘He loves his football and enjoys life, and we have to stay positive.

‘Today is about keeping hope – unexpected things do happen and let’s hope he turns up.’

Gary Wootton, 29, from Gosport, said: ‘Some people say community spirit is dead but that’s not true – the support that’s been shown for Timmy is absolutely amazing.’