HEARTBROKEN family members of a man who has been missing for a year tackled lashing rain to complete a walk marking the anniversary of his disappearance.
Family and friends of Matthew Bone marched about 12 miles from Portsdown Hill to Old Winchester Hill to raise awareness of his disappearance.
The 27-year-old, of Waterlooville, left his family home a year ago yesterday. His last known sighting, locally, was at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham on March 6, before he travelled to Worcestershire – where CCTV pictured him on March 9.
But after that he vanished, leaving police baffled and his family distraught, not knowing whether he was alive or dead.
Dad Michael Bone, 53, of Widley, said it had been a nightmare of emotions which had pushed his loved ones to their limits.
‘From the moment he disappeared, time stood still for us,’ he said. ‘From that point onward we lived in a world of “we don’t know” – we didn’t know where he was, whether he was alive or dead.
‘That’s been our world for the past year. We have had to move on with our own lives and work. But behind the scenes our lives have actually stopped.
‘He is a missing piece from our family and none of us can grasp that. It’s been devastating for us all.
'Emotions go up and down daily. Theories about what happened to him change daily. But we still have hope – there’s still that empty chair waiting around the table for him.’
Matthew’s mother, Karen, 56, said the trek was ‘bittersweet’ but remained hopeful she might one day be reunited with her beloved son.
She added: ‘This has been a very hard year for us. You keep going as best you can but it's always at the back of your mind.
‘We still have hope and we know in these situations it can go on for a number of years. It’s important we don’t give up. But some days it feels like that’s quite hard to do.’
The day was raising money for Missing People, a charity which has helped Matthew's family with counselling and support after he disappeared.