Established 2005 Registered Charity No. 1110656

Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

current issue

February – March 2024 : The little things READ ONLINE


Happy ending as daughter finds missing dad

June 03 2014
“It's been amazing, the best 24 hours of my life.”

A daughter and her father have been reunited 36 years after he went missing, when someone who had met him in a London homeless shelter helped them to find each other.

Adele Greenacre, now 36, was an 11-week-old baby when her father Derek left the family home one morning in 1978 and never returned.

The family thought he was going to work at a nearby leisure centre where he was a manager, but at 11am they received a call from his secretary saying he hadn't arrived.

They spent the day searching, discovered his car parked in front of Nottingham Station and assumed that he had taken a train to London.

Nottinghamshire Police conducted an inquiry at the time but could not find Derek, then 33, who never made contact with his friends or family again.

But this spring Adele, now a mother of three, set up a Facebook appeal asking for information which might help her find her father, and posted an old photo of him on the site.

The appeal was shared 21,000 times, and within weeks Adele was contacted by a man living in Switzerland who said he knew her father, having met him while both men were homeless at The Passage, a charity in central London.

After receiving her father’s mobile number, Adele called him and found herself speaking to her father for the first time. The two have since met in person.

Despite her father's disappearance and refusal to contact her or her family, Adele says she is thrilled to have found him. She says that he has experienced memory problems, and has a two-year memory gap from the time he went missing.

"When I first got to his house, I was very thrown and very scared," she said.

"I knew I couldn't go and expect anything. But it worked out amazingly.

"We spent seven hours together and got on like a house on fire. It's been amazing, the best 24 hours of my life.

"I wasn't looking for answers. Just knowing him was enough for me.

"I want to thank each and every person who read and shared my post online, as without all of you, I would never have found him. It is a fairy tale ending and I am just so happy."

An estimated 250,000 people go missing each year according to the Home Office. Many had been undergoing employment or financial problems, whilst others had experience of homelessness.