31st January, 2016
Even though a number of years have passed since I last posted on this website, not a day goes by without me thinking about Blake; he is missed just as much now as he was the day he disappeared.
I was hoping, that one day the person, or persons who know what happened the night Blake vanished may have the strength to tell me how or why my son died. I thought that as they grew up and had children of their own they may begin to realize the strength of connection that you have with your children and how much you love them. I don't want any repercussions I just want to know what happened. I truly don't believe that anything malicious happened, that perhaps there was an accident or a prank that went too far, but I do want to know. So please contact me if you know what occurred, you can email me through this website.
8th August, 2011
Well, another 2 years have passed and you would think by now the pain would lessen, but it doesn't. Everything that I wrote in 2009 still applies and having talked to my friend who lost her son 22 years ago, I don't think our feelings will ever change.
I now wonder what he would be like if he had lived to be 32, where he would be, what he would be doing, who he would be with, and I doubt very much that he would have changed. As one of his friends said, he would still be the optimistic, wise, dependable, kind, giving, practical, sharing, happy-go-lucky, cheeky, warm, helpful, loyal, hard-working, independent, funny, strong, friendly, person that we all knew and loved. What a terrible, tragic, sad loss.
Once again, thank you to everyone who has remembered Blake, it means a lot to me that he has not been forgotten.
RIP Blake, xx
8th August, 2009
I cannot believe that 5 years have passed already since Blake died, the pain and horror of what happened that day still feels like yesterday.
To think, only 2 days ago it would have been Blake's 30th birthday and instead of organizing a party and celebrating I was taking flowers to his grave. I have just been watching the news and seen that even more guys have been killed in Afghanistan and it makes me think of all the other mothers out there, grieving for their lost sons, how totally sad, so much loss, but at least they got the opportunity to do what they loved doing and for what they were trained. Blake didn't even make it that far, what a waste.
I would like to thank everyone for their kind thoughts and comments posted on Facebook.
Anyway, enough of this brooding, Blake wouldn't want that, he would want us to celebrate the life he had, be thankful for it, enjoy the life we have and the count our many and varied blessings, so with that in mind, I am now going to take the dogs up the hill for a strenuous walk and then we are going to my daughter's friend Helen's 21st birthday party, it won't take the pain away but it at least it will be a distraction.
6th August, 2009
Today is Blake's birthday, he should have been 30 years old today.
Happy Birthday Blake.
28th April, 2009
I have received this email and thought it was so lovely I have put it here for you all to read.
Dear Sally and Dave,
I have just read about Blake, I can’t put into words how I feel.
This is by Canon Henry Scott Holland 1847 - 1918
Death is nothing at all.
I have only slipped away into the next room.
I am I and you are you.
Whatever we were to each other,
that we still are.
Call me by my old familiar name.
Speak to me in the easy way
which you always used.
Put no difference in your tone.
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.
Laugh as we always laughed
at the little jokes we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word
that it always was.
Let it be spoken without affect,
without the trace of a shadow on it.
Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same that it ever was.
There is absolutely unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of mind
because I am out of sight?
I am waiting for you,
for an interval,
somewhere very near,
just around the corner.
All is well.
I am so pleased to have met you both and thank you for sharing with me a little bit of your son’s life.
I never knew him but what a proud mum you must be Sally to have given birth to such a fine boy.
Sincerely wishing you both well
Heather & Gordon -x-
27th October, 2008
With the information gained from the Inquest I have edited the first part of "Sally's account" adding names etc. There is more to be done but I haven't got time to do it all in one go.
13th September, 2008
TOM BEAVER’S amazing
ARCH TO ARC
to get the full story and pictures please use the following link - Arch to Arc
27th August, 2008
Well, here we are nearly in September and nearing the start of Tom's big challenge. Despite everything that has happened, it could have been worse, we may never have found Blake, but we did, so I consider myself one of the lucky ones!
You may wonder why – well, keep reading.
Nearly 250,000 people go missing in this country every year and even though many of them are found many are not and in fact the families or friends of those missing people may never find out what happened to their loved one. That is why I consider myself fortunate, I did find Blake, but it was the "not knowing" for all that time that was so awful and so destructive in so many ways. To never be able to obtain some kind of closure must be, quite honestly, indescribable.
There is nothing more devastating than literally loosing a child or relation and never finding out what happened to them.
Because of our experience with Blake my nephew Tom Beaver (Blake's cousin,) is about to attempt a totally immense challenge in memory of Blake and through sponsorship wants to raise funds for the charity Missing People, formerly known as the National Missing Person's Helpline. Tom was not also a very good friend of Blake's but his running partner too, he is just a year younger than Blake, and they virtually grew up together, more like brothers than cousins. He is going to attempt the Enduroman Arch to Arc challenge starting September 3rd, 2008. His challenge being dedicated to Blake is very appropriate as it finishes in France.
The Enduroman Arch To Arc Triathlon
This is one of the world's ultimate endurance challenges, The goal is simple, to run from the Marble Arch in London to Dover, swim the English channel, and upon landing in France, cycle to the Arc de Triomphe in Paris in the shortest possible time.
The number of miles Tom will be attempting to cover is staggering. It is a 289 mile triathlon starting with an 87 mile run from the Marble Arch to the Dover coast, swimming the English Channel (technically 22 miles but often much more) and then cycling 180 miles from Calais to Paris. It is no wonder that only four people have done it as a solo event; in September 2008 he will be attempting to become the fifth and the youngest.
To put this challenge into context, less people have succeeded in swimming the English Channel than have reached the summit of Mt. Everest. Only 1 in 10 who try, succeed. The swim represents only a fraction of what he is undertaking.
At present the Guinness World Record for this challenge is 82 hours, held by Mr. Eddie Ette founder of Enduroman.
Caldwell and Fisher Productions are producing a documentary following Tom's efforts while also telling the story about what happened to Blake.
There is more information available on Tom's website - www.runningbeaver.co.uk and also the Enduroman website - www.enduroman.com
The charity Missing People
Missing People is the UK's only charity that works with young runaways, missing and unidentified people, their families and others who care for them.
What they do:
- A national 24 hour helpline for people who are missing someone.
- Support, advice and guidance, and practical help to families of missing people.
- Publicity in the media: on TV, newspapers, radio and other media including Teletext and MoMedia plasma screens on buses for missing people.
- A confidential national computerised register of missing people.
- Runaway Helpline - A 24 hour confidential helpline for runaways, offering help and advice to young people who have run away from home or care, or who have been forced to leave.
- Message Home - A unique confidential service offering help, advice and support to adults who are missing. Message Home is a 24 hour Freefone service that helps people contact their family or carers via a message or three-way call.
- Identification - A specialist service offered by Missing People to support police, coroners, hospitals and social services to resolve cases of unidentified people (alive or dead).
Why I am telling you all this is because I would really like YOU to support Tom in his challenge, so please will you sponsor him.
Whatever you feel you can give would be greatly appreciated – all you have to do is to follow the link - http://www.justgiving.com/arch2arc08 or to go to Tom’s Website – http://www.runningbeaver.co.uk and follow any of the links - pink squares with the “Support Missing People” logo on them.
THANK YOU VERY MUCH INDEED.
I know only too well what it feels like when someone goes missing and if we can help alleviate the suffering of just one other person it has to be worthwhile.
6th August, 2008
Today Blake should have been 29 years old - happy birthday Blake.
Since my last update, we had a bit of a strange moment when I learned (through Joseph and Claude,) that a skull and part of a back-bone had been found in the river L'Arve south of Geneva, in Switzerland. They had seen an article in the newspaper, the Geneva Tribune and forwarded it to me. We were all rather puzzled by the information in the various different newspaper articles that they all seemed to think the skull could belong to one of 2 people who had gone missing recently but no one mentioned the possibility that it could be Blake. So I contacted a reporter at the Tribune who very kindly gave me the telephone number of the Geneva Police (thank goodness they spoke perfect English,) and they assured me that at that moment in time they believed the remains to be female, so clearly ruling out any chance that it could be Blake. The official channels, i.e. the French Police took over a month to convey to me that it was not Blake and indeed that it was an approximately 60 year old woman who had disappeared a number of years previously. I have to say it was kind of weird though thinking that this particular piece of Blake may have been found as it feels that the head represents such an essential part of the body. Maybe one day we will find more of him, but I think in all reality it is unlikely.
This is where the skull and backbone were found hanging in the branches of a tree on the island in the middle of the river at Vessey on the 29th May, 2008
23rd May, 2008
At the inquest on Wednesday the Coroner returned an open verdict - which we were as satisfied with as much as we could be under the circumstances.
The whole event was very upsetting for the entire family; we have been so stressed and emotional for such a long period of time I have to say it is actually quite a relief now it is all over.
It is just such a terrible tragedy.
15th May, 2008
Gosh, where do I start, it has been such a long time since my last update and so much as happened since then - yet again mainly due to laptop problems – thanks again Nick (from Extrinsica,) for your help. Why am I so unlucky with computers!!
Anyway, obviously we have had Blake’s funeral. For me and for my family and his friends a totally heartbreaking day, so final after all this time, no more wondering and wishing he might just walk through the door. Once you see a coffin with your son’s name on it being lowered into the ground, that’s it, reality finally hits home. But at least we know that he has died, we have been able to have a funeral and chance to mourn and grieve for him. The funeral was very well attended, nearly 400 people; thank you very much to all those people who were present and for you kind words of condolence and for your support, it was enormously appreciated and especially as I know many of you had to travel a considerable distance to be there. And a very big thank you to everybody who gave to the collection, it came to £900 and was split between the church and our chosen charities, so "Missing People" received a cheque for £300. It was as you can imagine a very tough day for us, but one I think we all needed, I had never realised just how important the ritual of a funeral was until now and I think we are now all able to move on and receive some form of closure after it.
We are lucky in a sense, because so many parents and family of missing people never get to this stage, they have to spend maybe the rest of their lives wondering and hoping that their loved ones might turn up and to that end, that is why my nephew Tom Beaver is running the Arch to Arc Enduroman Challenge in September. He is doing it in memory of Blake and to raise money for the charity "Missing People." For anybody who has not yet had a chance to check out his website it is www.runningbeaver.co.uk, please do take a moment to have a look and if you can support him through sponsorship that would be marvellous, you will find the link to “Just Giving” on his Blog page, just click one of the pink squares they say “Support Missing People.”
Just as we were thinking it was all over, on the Monday morning following the funeral on the Saturday, we had a phone call from the police to say our presence was required by the Procureur in Bonneville in order for them to go through what they had done since the bones had been found and for our consent for them to close the case. So the following week we flew off to Geneva again (for me the 8th time,) and had a meeting with the police and the Procureur and the case was duly closed in France. One bonus of that trip was that we were again able to meet up with Claude and Joseph and his family and to catch up with them. If only we could get some kind of perseverance/kindness medal that could be awarded to them; I never feel that just saying thank you is sufficient, it seems so inadequate compared to what they did for us.
Now we are just waiting for the Inquest to take place here and that will be happening next week on the 21st May in Shrewsbury. The Coroner I have to say was very understanding and wanted the Inquest to take place as soon as possible in order for us to draw to a close to all this, he understands that after nearly 4 years we have truly had enough stress, pressure and worry to last us a lifetime!
15th January, 2008
Just to let anybody know that has been in contact through the website and have wondered why they have not received a reply - I have not been able to access the webmail for quite a while, but thanks to Nick Smith - my knight in shining armour - I now am able to pick up the mail again, and my laptop is working more efficiently thanks to him.
At last we have received a proper letter of condolence from the Secretary of State for Defence, with proper names on it and with more of a sense that this time he actually knew what the situation was, so thank you to him for that.
We have arranged for Blake's funeral to be on Saturday, 8th March, 2008.
14th December, 2007
Blake has arrived home today. Richard, his father and I are going to arrange a funeral for him.
10th December, 2007
Finally Blake is coming home - his remains are to be repatriated this week.
3rd December, 2007
Yet again the authorities have excelled themselves!! We are now labouring under rumours and misinformation, (if we get any at all,) which seems to bear no relation to the truth. It is such a struggle to find anything out and the powers-that-be seem to have no comprehension of what this is doing to us, it is already a dreadful situation to be in and they are making it a thousand times worse - I wonder how they would react if it were their son! We were told that the French were not going to issue a death certificate but it was going to be issued over here but according to the British Vice-Consul in Lyons according to the Military Attaché in Paris, one has now been issued, but no one seems to have had it or know where it is. Apparently Blake's remains have been ready for repatriation since October - no one bothered to tell us and we have certainly not been told the results of the forensic tests they carried out and we still do not actually have a date for the repatriation. We do not know if the case is closed or what is happening over there. When we were last in Bonneville the Procureur promised me he would keep us informed as to what was happening but despite me writing to him three times (his choice to be the only one we can communicate with,) he has not bothered to reply nor has he kept us updated in any way! Why do they have to make it so difficult. Eventually once we do receive Blake's remains we still have to have a Coroner's inquiry here, then maybe we might finally be allowed to put our son to rest.
26th November, 2007
For those of you who read the article in the Express over the weekend, I would just like to state for the record that most of it was total bunkum. I did consult Gordon Smith in October, 2005 and he was very kind and helpful and he did give me what proved to be pretty accurate information; he also asked that we did not publicize the fact at the time, but as you may have gathered he was not the only psychic that I visited. Dennis Mckenzie you may remember actually came to Chamonix with us. Both he and others like Auntie Stephanie Jenkins (she is the aunt of a friend of Blake's,) gave me equally accurate information and indeed it was the publicity that surrounded Dennis's visit to France that precipitated Joseph Dancet to contact me and hence Blake's bone being found.
Even though obviously I did speak to the reporter Danny (I thought it was going to be an article about the tremendously helpful and comforting work that psychics do,) The Express in typical newspaper fashion managed to sensationalize and dramatize just about everything I said and indeed added other things that were totally untrue. Before the article was printed, Danny the reporter, emailed some of the copy to me in which there were many mistakes, I emailed back the corrected version and then the paper went ahead and printed the original work complete with mistakes. Danny even phoned me to say it was going in on Saturday and he was sorry but it was what the paper wanted.
Dennis Mckenzie was understandably very upset after reading the Express as it made out that it was only Gordon who had helped me because Dennis was not even mentioned despite me telling Danny about incidents that had occurred with him and with others too, this is clearly wrong. I had lots of help from many people and Gordon was a part of that process but not entirely responsible for the eventual outcome.
Looking back I think it is amazing that people like Gordon and Dennis could tell me things that there was no way they could have known about previously. I have every faith in both of them and the others and I will be forever grateful to them for giving up their time (at no cost,) to try and help me.
I have learned one lesson through all this though, and that is, do not believe everything you read in the papers - unless it is written by Richard Saville from the Telegraph, he printed a brilliant piece which was exactly what I had told him, no fantasies!
9th November, 2007
Just to keep the records straight, the army and the Secretary of State, Des Browne have written letters of condolence to us, they really have taken their time - no wonder the army continually gets bad press!
19th October, 2007
After yet more computer problems at last I have access to the website again.
Since my last update we have had Joseph, Claude and Joseph's granddaughter, Marie over here to stay with us. It was so lovely to be able to introduce them to our family and friends and show them around a small part of Shropshire and as Joseph and Claude were in the engineering business we included a trip to Blist's Hill in Ironbridge. Clearly there is nothing on this earth that would be sufficient to express our gratitude to Joseph and Claude, but it was at least nice to be able to return a little of their hospitality. Thankfully Marie spoke English and she managed magnificently to conduct several conversations in 2 languages at the same time, she was brilliant, I am really not sure what we would have done without her.
MY NEPHEW HENRY, CLAUDE, JOSEPH & MARIE FAMILY GATHERING AT HOME
We have just heard that the French police have decided to release Blake's remains, but in true French police style they have not told us where or when or even what the results of the forensic tests are. While David and I were standing by the river last time we were there, the police divers actually found 2 more bones, again we have not heard the results of the tests on those bones either. So more frustrations, set backs, and total lack of information from the powers that be, do these official people have any idea about the toll it takes on the family when they drag out such emotional issues like these, will we ever get any closure.
But now to a more positive event.
My nephew Tom Beaver (the one that runs for fun,) is now going to try to set a world record by running the Enduroman Arch to Arc Triathlon in memory of Blake and to raise funds for the charity Missing People. This basically means that on the 5th of September 2008 Tom will run from Marble Arch in London to the coast, swim the Channel and then cycle to L'Arc de Triomphe in Paris, nuts or what?!!! This is a link to the Just Giving website and I am sure he would appreciate any help or support you can give him - www.justgiving.com/arch2arc08 and for info on the challenge - http://www.enduroman.com/Contenders.htm
We shall all be there for him though I doubt it will be in the physical sense!
30th March, 2007
At last I have had a little time to reflect on how this has affected us. Finally we have an answer to a puzzle that has been with us for two and a half years; our lives have been suspended for all that time. We are no longer in limbo. Now we know what has happened to Blake we can try to accept it and deal with it and then hopefully achieve some form closure and move on with our lives. We will never forget Blake and I am sure we will all think about him every day, we miss him dreadfully.
At long last, I no longer have to spend all my spare time thinking about how I could I could further the search, spending hours and hours on the computer researching anything else that could be done, and also we can all now stop constantly looking in crowds and cars etc thinking that maybe we will see Blake there. The knowledge that he has gone has removed a huge burden from my shoulders and also my family’s, what Joseph has done for us, against all odds is immense and we will never ever be able to thank him enough for that. He is indeed a hero and deserves every accolade and tribute he gets. Not only that, he so incredibly generous and hospitable, every time we have visited him we are welcomed with drinks and food and he is always willing to spend time helping us however he can.
25th March, 2007
Well, what a hectic few days in France – yet again, but more about that later first I would like to share with you what we were greeted with when we returned home.
We were welcomed by a huge raft of letters and cards – most of them expressing sympathy and condolences - all except for one! This was a letter from the army, about time too I thought considering what had been happening since the end of December. This is the first communication I have had from them since the 27th March, 2006 so I have to say I was rather shocked when I read it – perhaps I shouldn't’t have been really considering their total lack of help and co-operation but I thought that it was so appalling and lacking in sympathy that I would like to share it with you. This shows the army’s sentiments to a mother who has just found out that her son has died after two and half years of continual work (on her own,) searching in France (with the support of her family and friends, not the army,) trying to find her son who was an employee of the army and on duty at the time of disappearing, and one would have thought an element of sympathy may have been expressed, but not so. Anyway this is how it goes –
Dear Mrs Perrin,
I am aware that at the time of writing this letter you are in France, but I though it important to let you know that we have now appointed a Visiting Officer to act as your liaison with the Army.
He is Captain xxxxxxx, an administrative Officer with 202 Field Hospital, based at Copthorne Barracks in Shrewsbury. If, by the time you receive this letter, he has not already spoken to you, he can be contacted on xxxxxxxxx.
Why I am surprised really when we all read in the newspapers what the army is like and how unhelpful and unsympathetic they are and I guess this is just another example.
Anyway, I have other, more important things to worry about other that the army behaving badly. One day I will tell you all about the French Police! But not yet! I have to swiftly add that with only one exception they have all been extremely charming and helpful men.
Let me tell you about the real hero of the hour and that is the 73 year old Joseph Dancet, an angel, a real Indiana Jones (difficult I know to blend the two images but bear with me,) he is a most modest man with the biggest heart and so brave and full of energy, it is difficult to keep up with him sometimes. He has been ridiculed by the local community and his family and friends but he has stuck by his convictions that it was indeed Blake he saw in the river 10 days after Blake disappeared and he was going to find him, come what may. And he did.
We, that is my long suffering and extremely supportive husband, David, Blake’s step-father and I arrived in France to be swept up into a complete media circus, but I think Joseph truly deserves every accolade and tribute going. He was somewhat fazed by all the attention, he normally only gets about 1 answer phone message a week, we returned one afternoon to 56! But, he welcomed us with open arms (literally,) and every member of the press, every journalist, TV reporter etc with such gracious and generous hospitality (despite the fact his wife was in hospital having a hip replacement,) spending hours telling them about what had been happening, taking them to the river, showing them where everything had occurred, that personally I think he deserves a medal. What an amazing man. How sad and disappointing though that the police evidently have never totally believed him, but he proved them wrong. Had they acted upon his conviction at the time of course it may not have taken so long to find him. Claude, Joseph’s friend, is also a hero because without his computer skills and his helping Joseph searching, I am nor sure how long it would have taken to find Blake. It is really difficult though to thank them, as words somehow seem so inadequate and no gift will ever be enough to express our gratitude, but we have tried and maybe one day we can return their help by helping others, who knows.
I am beginning to think waiting is what we do best. Endless waiting, at the airport, for the hire car, getting through Geneva, in the police stations, by the river (freezing cold in the snow,) at the Tribunal (the court place where we had to meet the Procureur,) for journalists, etc etc. I wonder how many hours over the last 2 and half years we have actually spent waiting, mainly for the police it has to be said. The waiting of course has been interspersed with activity, such as clambering up and down extremely steep banks into the river and walking up and down the water side getting wet feet, crashing through the undergrowth, climbing over fallen trees; sadly we now know the river, it’s banks and the whole surrounding area only too well.
GOING DOWN TO WHERE THE BONE WAS FOUND DEBRIS, LOOKING UPSTREAM
One thing we discovered when we went to the place where the bone was found, which is really annoying is that only approximately 50 – 100 yards further up stream is a bridge where all the previous searches have ended. The gendarmes’ theory being that downstream, beyond the bridge is Le Torrent and as the name suggests the river moves pretty fast through there and according to the Gendarmes “nothing sticks to the sides from here on,” but clearly things do! How sad to think we have been so close yet so far on so many occasions.
LOOKING FROM UNDER THE BRIDGE AT THE PLACE THE BONE WAS FOUND. UNDER THE BRIDGE
Now we have to wait while the Gendarmes investigate and search the area thoroughly. I don’t think by any stretch of the imagination that was our last visit to France, we have come to love the area regardless of what has happened, it is beautiful and stunning there and I totally understand why Blake loved it so much. Since he has disappeared we have made some really good friends there, so I hope we will continue to return and maybe even one day have the time to have some kind of holiday there enjoying it as one should.
We were fairly horrified though to see on a French newspaper website that the Procureur has already apparently reached a conclusion as to what has transpired that night in the face of plenty of evidence to the contrary. I think we are almost at the end of this but with the Procureur making judgments like this it may take a lot longer. I have no doubt that the Gendarmes will probably take another month or two to complete their search and investigation. Only then can we have Blake’s remains repatriated and then of course there will be a coroner’s inquiry here, and then maybe after all that, we might just get to have a funeral. Having watched my father die four years ago I realized then that a body is only a carrier for one’s soul, so a body is actually not all that important, but what has been important in this case is finding out what happened to Blake, so finding his remains has been vital and at least now we know he died. I know it may sound weird but finding a bone is I think far less traumatic than finding a body that has been in water for a while, so I suppose in a strange sort of way at least we were spared that.
MORE DEBRIS CAUGHT UP UNDER THE BRIDGE. JOSEPH IN THE WATER, LOOKING DOWNSTREAM
Anyway, we are home again now, obviously very sad but relieved also that finally we can mourn our beloved boy who never should have died; he was too good to lose. But he has and we have to deal with that as best we can. We will always miss him, on a daily basis, and despite all the horrors of the past it has been an extraordinary journey and we have met some amazing people along the way who have been so kind and wonderful, you know, the world really is not such a bad place.
12th March, 2007
I have just heard from the Vice-Consul in Lyons that the bone is definitely Blake.
Joseph promised me he would find Blake and he did.
We will be flying out to France again to complete the search.
I guess this is a bit like having someone close to you with a terminal illness, you know what the ending is going to be but when it comes it is still a shock and so very painful.
I would just like to say a huge thank you to everyone for their continued support through this awful time.
I will let you know how we get on in France as soon as we return.
26th February, 2007
Again, just to keep you informed, the French Police apparently need another 2 weeks before they can let me know the results of the DNA test! In fact I would not have even known this if Joseph hadn't told me, it is not the police keeping me up-to-date! It is so frustrating, if for no other reason that if they don't hurry up they will miss yet another opportunity to search the river as the winter melt will begin and the water will be too high and then they will then have to wait another 6 months. You can imagine how we are all feeling right now!
20th February, 2007
As quite a few people have been asking me about whether or not we have had the results of the DNA test yet, I thought I had better post a message to you to say that no, we are still waiting. I have to say I do wish the French Police would hurry up as this is so unbelievably stressful. The anxiety of wondering if every phone call, visitor, letter, or email may at last give us an answer, is unparalleled. I know it sounds terrible, but I really am hoping that it is Blake so that we may finally put an end to this dreadful time and put him to rest. A final search of the area has to be done if it does turn out to be him and Joseph is very hopeful of finding him. I will post the results as soon as we get them, they were expected on the 18th February so it shouldn't be too much longer now.
8th January, 2007
I am sorry I have not posted a Christmas message but yet again I have had computer troubles, but I would like to wish you all a very Happy New Year.
For once I do have some positive news - I hope - in a strange and sad kind of way! The day before New Year's Eve, a human thigh bone was found in the river just south of Bonneville - see photo below.
Obviously until DNA tests are run on it we won't know for sure if it is Blake or not, but the chances are pretty high. It was found by Joseph, my French angel! He is the guy who has been helping me search and has made it his mission in life to find Blake - he is the one in the photo. Just north of that place there is a huge collection of debris that could well hold the other remains.
This is only just south of where Dennis Mckenzie said to look. On the 2nd January the bone was taken to the police and it has now been sent to Annecy to test for length of time in water and for it's sex, and after that it will then be sent to Lyons for DNA testing - not sure how long all that will take, but I will update you with results as and when.
This is Joseph showing how high the water was at the time Blake disappeared.
Of course there are still another thousand and one other places where a body could be concealed, like the place in the picture below - it is not an easy task to check them out!
I know it is kind of bad news and despite the fact that I think all hope is now gone, it is only what were expecting at some point and maybe soon we will (hopefully,) be able to obtain some kind of closure and put him to rest - it has been a very long and weary journey.
This is a picture of Joseph and Claude - Joseph's friend who has been helping Joseph and sends me the emails. What can I say other than they are wonderful people.
2nd December, 2006
Even though we have not found anything again, we do have some hope in the form of the gentleman who sighted the body in the river on the 24th August, 2004. He is the most remarkable person, a retired engineer aged 73, who has taken it upon himself to help us and to find Blake, and he has made it his mission in life. He and his mate go down by the river to areas where people generally never venture whenever they can and with the special hooked rake he has made they are systematically raking through all the debris that was left by the river when it flooded in 2004. This is a mammoth task, working through thoroughly inhospitable impenetrable jungle type conditions, trying to move tons of wood, including whole tree trunks, an unbelievable amount of rubbish and dozens of footballs!. They have even travelled down to the border where the river L’Arve enters the Rhone and spoken to the engineers there about any bodies that have been caught up in the series of filters across the river and established that any bodies that have appeared have all so far been identified. He is so inspirational that the person, who very kindly gave up a whole day to come with us to translate, now wants to help us too.
I still cannot get over the amazing kindness of strangers; it is truly heart-warming and totally reinstates my belief in the innate goodness of people. For instance on the last four occasions we have been to Chamonix we have been privileged to be allowed to stay in the apartment of a truly wonderful caring person whom we have never even met but wants to help - in his own words – “Its wonderful to be of help with something so important - your quest is something so many of us speak about in Chamonix. For all of us one of Cham's great pleasures is how safe it is for our families and friends - so this mystery touches so many hearts. ”
Every time we go out there even if we don't actually find anything, I always feel it is just one more step in the journey and we will succeed soon. One thing for sure, I am not giving up even if I do feel both mentally, and most of the time physically, exhausted by it all, but if I don't keep on, no one else will. I cannot give up on Blake, he meant the world to us and as everyday passes, we miss him more and more, it gets harder and harder to think that he will never return and we may never find out what happened. In a lot of ways it feels as though it only happened yesterday and I cannot believe that over two years have already passed.
27th October, 2006
Well, at last I am back in contact with the website after a very long, frustrating and expensive time with my computer - it crashed and I lost everything on my hard-drive. I managed to retrieve a bit of information (many thanks to Tony for that,) but all the emails that you have sent to the website have been lost, so has my laptop! So I apologise if you have written in and not received a reply but I am now, at last, able to respond to you. Very, many thanks to Nick Smith for all his help getting my computer connections sorted out.
As for our last trip to France, we did indeed have another search with the French police and their divers but in fact the conditions were not at all favourable and despite my asking the police to delay the search until the conditions improved, they went ahead anyway. Needless to say, nothing was found, but then I didn't really expect to find anything with the river so high. But we did have a bit of a breakthrough and that was to meet with the person who actually saw a body in the river 10 days after Blake disappeared and due to the timing we can only assume it must have been him, but our big question is why did the French police not tell us about it until the following December!
Since that time, I have managed to locate and buy some aerial photographs that were taken on the day that the body was sighted in the river above Bonneville. We can now see very clearly the places where the river was spilling out of it's banks and have a better idea as to where the body may have ended up. With this new knowledge, we are going to Chamonix again next week.
9th May, 2006
Just a very brief update as I have to fly to Houston, Texas, quite soon for Maria's (Blake's sister,) final graduation, she is now a Doctor of Ecology! Ye Ha!
I will give you a more detailed account of what happened on our last trip to Chamonix when I come back, but suffice to say for now, we got back yesterday after an extremely interesting 2 days with Dennis, the psychic. He told us what he felt actually happened the night Blake disappeared, and I have to say that at last, after hearing his account it makes a great deal more sense and I do feel somewhat relieved to know that he believes Blake lost his life trying to help someone else and not by doing anything stupid himself, but also so sad that it had to have happened at all.
Dennis has also, we hope, has found the area he feels Blake's body to be in, so we are going back to Chamonix as soon as I return from Houston, and the French police will implement another search.
So, I feel finally we so near to finding Blake and with one more attempt we will be able to put him to rest. Having said that I am also fully aware of just how difficult it may be to find him even if we do have a certain area to search. So I have to be realistic about this and say that it will be done with hope, not certain expectation.
2nd February, 2006
Three things, one I have just posted two beautifully written accounts of Blake's skiing efforts in Chamonix, April 2004, when he stayed with John Barry, the well known mountaineer and explorer. Blake met John's son at Sandhurst and he very kindly invited Blake to Chamonix to go skiing. According to the accounts by John and his other son Joe, Blake clearly had a thoroughly good time. The articles are under "Stories about Blake."
The second thing is that I have been asked to post some information on this website about a young man called Craig Alden who is in desperate trouble and in need of help and support. His website is www.freecraigalden.com
And finally, we have booked to go to Chamonix again in the beginning of May. This time we are taking Dennis Mackenzie, well know psychic (he has a website too -
www.dennismckenzie.com) - and we also have a French speaking, ex-lawyer coming with us. So, hopefully with all this assistance we might succeed this time. One thing for sure though, I will not give up!
24th December, 2005
I have just received another £25 for Tom's Sponsored run, so my total is now £621 - fantastic - and thank you so much.
I would like to wish everyone A Very Happy Christmas and New Year, and also to thank most sincerely all those kind people who have been so helpful and supportive over the last year. I really have appreciated all those kind messages you have sent to us, I do hope you will keep in touch.
Even though particularly at this time of year it is obviously a very difficult and painful time, we miss him so much, it does help us to know that you are also thinking about Blake and that he was so loved by so many people. We shall be raising a glass to him tomorrow as I am sure you will be doing, and trying to remember some of the good and happy times we had with him.
The following is a poem that was sent to me via this website which I think sums up very nicely how I think Blake would want us to deal with this.
Death is Nothing at all
Death is nothing at all
I have only slipped away into the next room
I am I and you are you
whatever we were to each other
that we still are
call me by my old familiar name
speak to me in the easy way
which you always used
put no difference in your tone
wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow
laugh as we always laughed
at the little jokes we enjoyed together
pray smile, think of me, pray for me
Let my name be ever the household word
that it always was
Let it be spoken without effort
without the trace of a shadow in it
Life means all that it ever meant
it is the same as it ever was
there is unbroken continuity
why should I be out of mind
because I am out of sight?
I am waiting for you
somewhere very near
just around the corner
All is well
Henry Scott Holland
(1847-1918) Canon of St Paul's Cathedral
16th December, 2005
Sorry I have been a bit slow relaying this letter to you but I was hoping to be able to give you a final total for the amount that Tom Beaver (my crazy nephew who ran through the Saharan Desert!) has raised running in memory of Blake. Anyway, I sent £596 off the National Missing Person's Helpline and Tom has assured me that he has collected over £1000, so a fantastic total so far. A big THANK YOU to everyone who contributed, I know that the NMPH will (unfortunately,) be able to make good use of that money.
Here is Tom's thank you letter:-
Now back safe and well in Shropshire, my ultra marathon in the Sahara Desert seems just a fond memory that I will never forget. There were sweltering temperatures up to 54 c with absolutely no shade, the heat radiated off the sand creating very uncomfortable conditions even as much to have melted some of my zip lock bags carrying my food, so my pack was a mess when I opened it. As well as having to battle against the heat there were sand dunes, which were high as a three-story buildings, and competing against some of the toughest and most physically fit people I think ill ever meet it certainly was a incredible experience.
I found this event very humbling. It doesn't matter who you are or how fit you are. Mental toughness and keeping your feet in shape are the only sure ways to finish. You can feel great one minute and the next minute, you are in a heap - it's important to listen to your body. It's also important to focus on the day ahead and not think about the days beyond. I would just like to thank you very much for your support during this race and contribution to the National Persons Missing Helpline.
I miss Blake loads and only wish he could have been here to participate with me, but alas we still don't know what fate has become of Blake but hopefully these very generous bequests will further any future investigations.
Thank you once again
20th October, 2005
At last I have received the speech that Blake's dad (Richard,) made at Blake's Memorial Service so it is duly posted under "The Memorial Service."
24th September, 2005
Phew, the storm has passed and not too much damage or loss of life (as far as one can ascertain,) has been incurred in Houston. Maria and her new husband Scot are fine, they just have no electric or water on at the moment. Let's hope that the rest of that part of America have got off as lightly. I have no doubt it will be a while before the real damage can be assessed though.
Maria did say it had been pretty scary at times.
23rd September, 2005
As if we haven't had enough to worry about, Maria, Blake's eldest sister (the one who has just got married -see photo below,) lives in Houston, Texas! With hurricane Rita clattering in up the Gulf of Mexico right now, it is with anxiety and trepidation that we wait for the storm to hit. She assures me that they have enough food and water for a few days and they do live on the sixth floor of their apartment block, but I still can't help but worry.
I will keep you posted.
19th September, 2005
Just a note to say that I have added James Shaw's words to Blake's Memorial Service, he has been in Bosnia so was unable to forward anything to me.
6th September, 2005
My nephew Tom Beaver is an extremely fit guy who likes to keep himself in shape by running on our local Stretton Hills, and this is something that Blake used to enjoy doing with him whenever he got the opportunity. As well as being cousins, Blake and Tom were particularly good friends, and as they grew up together they spent a lot of time in each others company enjoying similar outdoor pursuits.
Tom has already completed the London and New York Marathon, dressed in a very heavy Rhino suit (he says it was to raise money to help save the Rhino!!) He has even competed in the Ironman competitions twice!
Anyway, he has now decided that he would like to take part in the Sahara Race. Personally I think he must be mad as I have just been to Egypt and consider it a place where even walking slowly should only be undertaken if absolutely necessary - it is unbelievably hot there and I wasn't even in the desert!
So, Tom is doing this to raise money for the National Missing Persons Helpline who as you know have helped us to try and find Blake. He is also running in memory of Blake, and the following letter is an appeal from Tom himself. If you would like to sponsor him, please do contact me though this website, thank you.
Tom’s Sponsored Sahara Race in memory of Blake Hartley
Last year on the 8th of August, my cousin Blake Hartley vanished without a trace 2 days after his 25th Birthday whilst leading a expedition in Chamonix, France.
His family and friends are desperate to find him and they need as much as help possible to do it. His mother, my Auntie Sally, has worked tirelessly to explore all possible avenues.
On the 25th of September I will undertaking a gruelling race called "The Sahara Race." This is a self-supported footrace across 150 miles (250 kilometers) of the Sahara Desert in Egypt. The race consists of six stages, lasting 6 days, with distances ranging from 10 to 50 miles (20 - 80 kilometers) per stage. This race is fully self-supported throughout the
whole event. You can read more about this event under: www.racingtheplanet.com/sahara
I will be doing this for the charity - "National Missing Persons Helpline" and to keep Blake's memory alive.
If you would like to sponsor me for this event I would really appreciate it. All the funds will go to the charity NMPH.
This is one of the worst and most desperate things that can ever happen to a family. I miss Blake so much - his friendship, his endless knowledge of outdoor life, his quick and subtle wit, his laughter and even him eating all my mum’s chocolate brownies never leaving any for me!
Thanking you very much in anticipation,
Sponsor forms are available from Auntie Sally through this website or from the - National Missing Persons Helpline (use this link or go to - www.missingpersons.org)
or Telephone NMPH on 020 8392 4521
30th August, 2005
Some photos of the surrounding area of where Blake's Memorial stone is.
12th August, 2005
Just thought you might like to see what Blake's Memorial Stone looks like.
9th August, 2005
The 6th August , as you know should have been Blake's 26th Birthday. Instead of it being the usual happy day of celebration, family and friends gathered to hold a memorial service is memory of Blake.
Despite the obvious sadness of the day, Blake's father and I tried to design the occasion to be a celebration of Blake's life, and I think with the help of some of Blake's very dearest friends and family, we did manage to achieve that. We felt it was a wonderful tribute to our son that even though it is the middle of the holiday season, and a lot of Blake's friends who are in the services could not be there as they are posted abroad, there were in fact over 400 people in attendance. So I would like to say a huge THANK YOU to them for sharing that very special day with us, especially those who made an enormous effort to travel from abroad and from all over the country to be with us, it really did mean so much to have your support on that day, thank you.
Approximately £850 was collected at the service to be shared equally between the National Missing Person's Helpline and St Peter's Church, Cound. Thank you very much to everyone who gave so generously.
I do understand as I said before why some people who I know would have liked to have been with us were unable to attend, so I am now in the process of putting the service on the website for them to see, some of what was said is already up there, and as soon as I receive it, I will be able to put the rest of it on. (Link - The Memorial Service )
There is now a memorial tablet to Blake in the churchyard of St Peter's Church, Cound, between Shrewsbury and Bridgnorth. It is a beautiful, peaceful spot, overlooking fields full of wild flowers, surrounded by ancient trees, and a place we feel, Blake would be happy to be.
Yesterday, it was exactly one year ago that Blake disappeared and he is sorely missed. It was a difficult day to get through, but Blake's father and I visited the church with Maria, Blake's sister, and we spent time thinking about Blake and wishing how things could be different. The sun was shining, it was a glorious summer's day, swallows darting backwards and forwards into the church roof, butterfly's fluttering on the breeze with the hum of drowsy bees and combines in the distance, the day apparently perfect and you just wonder how, and why, life can be so cruel at times. But, although we stood there appreciating the fact that we had a wonderful son for 25 years, we do also appreciate we have a wonderful daughter and we spent the rest of the day planning her wedding. So now we have to look forward to having a happy day for her at the end of August, and I am sure we will.
Blake will never be forgotten. I don't think the pain of loosing him will ever go away, you just learn to live with it.
1st August 2005
Only a few days to go now to Blake's Memorial Service. Anybody who knew Blake is very welcome to come to the service, but if you could let me know through the website if you are planning on coming, I would be very grateful as it helps us to plan for places in the church and for refreshments afterwards at Blake's dad's home. Thank you.
29th June 2005
I heard a few days ago from the French Police that they had indeed completed the search of the remaining part of the river as they said they would. On the 3rd June, two boats and six divers carried out searches along the banks of the Genissia and Rhone dams, to the confluence of the Rhone with the River Arve. This search did not reveal anything. The police are keeping the case open.
The only possible chance we have of finding him now is if his body gets caught up at one of the filters on the one of the dams between Geneva and Marseille; they are, we have been told, checked regularly. It is only a possibility because if the river is in full spate, then things go over the top of the filters.
I was planning on going out there again in July, but circumstances dictate that it will not be possible at the moment. As if our family hasn't had enough to cope with, my brother, aged only 57 died unexpectedly last Sunday. So I think I will wait until September to go back again. We also have my daughter's wedding at the end of August.
Last Friday, Blake's father and I chose a memorial tablet to lay in the churchyard where we are holding Blake's memorial service, and I have to say it was one of the worst moments of my life, it felt so final. His father and I just said "We shouldn't have to be doing this, it just isn't right, but what else do we do?" I am sure the service is what we need to draw this to a close, and to say goodbye to Blake. It will be difficult, but it is necessary.
26th May 2005
Blake's father and I have decided to hold a memorial service for Blake on Saturday, 6th August. It should have been Blake's 26th birthday that day and it will be very nearly one year since he disappeared.
We feel that it will be an appropriate day to have a service celebrating the life and achievements of Blake. Hopefully we may gain some form of closure through having this. If anybody would like details of the service please do contact me through this website.
4th May 2005
For the latest account and some pictures of our last visit and search, please click on the link - Search dogs and divers- April, 2005 I have also published some poems that you may like to look at, the link is - Poems (strangely enough!)
4th April 2005
I have heard from the French Police that they are going to conduct another search using dogs this time at the end of April, so I have booked our flights etc. and will be there with them. Let's just hope that this time they will find something, anything..........this has to end.
26th March 2005
ONE SMALL STAR
When I need to feel you near me
I stand in this quiet place
With the silver light of countless stars
Falling on my face
Though they all shine so brightly
Somehow it comforts me to know
That some that burn the brightest
Died an eternity ago
But your light still shines
It's one small star to guide me
And to help me hold back the dark
Your light's still shining in my heart
I'm learning how to live without you
And I never thought I could
And even how to smile again
I never thought I would
And to cherish your heart's memories
That can bring you back to life
Some caress me gently
And some cut me like a knife
But your light still shines
It's one small star to guide me
And it helps me hold back the dark
Your light's still shining in my heart
Can your soul be out there somewhere,
Beyond the infinity of time
I guess you've found some answers now
I'll have to wait for mine
When my light joins with yours one day
We'll shine through time and space
And one day fall on a distant age
Upon some stranger's face
But your light still shines
It's one small star to guide me
And it helps me hold back the dark
Your light's still shining in my heart
Your light's still shining in my heart
14th March 2005
Unfortunately, I do not have much to report at the moment. Needless to say I am still working constantly and very hard trying to find a way forward in the search for Blake. Right now though the search is being hampered and delayed by the huge amount of snow in Chamonix.
I am in constant contact with one of the French Highly trained Special Policeman who is a member of the Peloton de Gendarmerie de Haute Montagne. This a special unit of the police formed to deal only with search and rescue in the mountains, not an easy job as since 1958 when the unit was formed they have helped to rescue over 11,000 people. Not only do they spend their time helping people directly but they also have a team that works with the development of new materials specific to the mountain conditions. They have a website – www.ohm-chamonix.com/ETE/PGHM.php which although is obviously in French you can always get the computer translated version (unless you speak French of course!) but it will give you a rough idea of the very valuable and vital work that they do.
Obviously there is a bit of language barrier here and the flow of emails to and from France certainly tests my French. I have to thank my friend Victoria (who speaks fluent French,) for her invaluable help in translating the sometimes very tricky and technical content of the subject matter in the emails for me.
Last week the French Special Policeman went to visit the owner of the Quarry which is where the filtration units are, and although a lot of the silt has been cleared from them, there is still some more work to be done. So if Blake’s body has been swept in there, there is still a chance that the quarry people (who monitor every bucketful that is removed,) may find him.
When the snow starts to melt the Police have said they will get some specially trained dogs there that are trained to find bodies that have been in water a long time, to work off boats and river banks and can find a body in deep water.
Until the snow melts though, there is nothing anybody can do except wait, all very frustrating!
On the emotional side of things, although I know in my heart that Blake must be dead, especially as I think there is no way he would have been gone for this length of time without contacting us somehow or other, it is very difficult to accept without any evidence. To illustrate how it feels I will tell you about an incident that happened the other day. When I was returning home from walking the dogs I saw my husband standing at the bottom of our drive (not something he usually does,) and I went cold, my heart sank and my legs went wobbly as I felt sure he was there waiting to tell me that Blake had been found, that he was indeed dead, and that there could be any more hope, that it was all over. Blake would never be coming home and we would never see him again. All that in a flash, but then after realising that was not why he was waiting for me, I felt surprised at myself. If that was the way I had reacted then I cannot have accepted that he is dead. I must therefore still be hanging on to some tiny glimmer of hope that while we don't know anything then he could be alive even though rationally I know he can't be. It is such an incredibly difficult dilemma to live with. So, apart from all the other reasons, this is why it is so important that we find him, one way or the other we all have to know, so not only can we put Blake to rest, but also that we can have some peace too.
8th February 2005
Today is exactly 6 months since Blake disappeared and I didn't know life could be so painful. I didn’t know I could cry so much. I know I should be grateful for having had 25 wonderful years with Blake, and I am. I just never expected to have to spend the next 30 or so without him around. One thing for sure, life is never going to be the same again, every birthday, Christmas, Mother’s day, Easter, any special day in the future, will be tainted with a sadness and an emptiness that will never go away.
Blake’s disappearance has affected so many people, but none more so than his immediate family. At this point in time, everybody else is moving on with their life, but for us, it actually gets more difficult, and it is the “not knowing” that is the problem. Trying to live with the thought that Blake may never again be with us is so very, very hard to accept, especially when we haven’t had a body to mourn. We just don’t know what to do or how to proceed. Is this what living in limbo means?
We all miss him so much.
As for trying to find him, I have tried to do everything I possibly can think of to find him. It is so frustrating, living so far away, not speaking the language, having so many different organisations involved etc. not just being able to pop in the car and go to Chamonix. All I really want is to be there so I can assess what to do next more easily. There are still a couple of things I am currently working on. One is the sub-bottom profiler, though I am now not sure that it will work, and there is also a bit of kit called side-scan sonar which we may be able to use. I have also been looking at using a very specially trained sniffer dog, and I am in contact with someone from Northern Ireland who may be able to help us. If these things come to fruition, the plan is to go out to Chamonix again in the beginning of March and have one last ditch attempt at trying to do whatever we can to find him. After that, well, I don’t know. If anybody can think of something, anything let me know.
20th January 2005After many hours on the internet and the phone, I have finally tracked down the specialist equipment I was looking for. For the technically minded it is a sub-bottom profiler, it can see through 9 meters of sand/silt and I hope will be suitable for the task in hand. I am getting help from a wonderful guy called Bill Smith (an underwater search and rescue expert,) who has offered to come to Chamonix with me to run the operation. We won't know for sure until we get there whether it will be totally feasible or not, but like everything else I have tried I have to at least give it go. Time is still a crucial issue and we need to move fairly fast if we are to beat the spring melt, so we have to get there within the next 4 - 6 weeks. Once again, if anyone would like to contribute to the latest effort I would be extremely grateful, as I am to those exceptionally kind and generous people who have already helped me. Lets just hope that this time (third time lucky!).....we might just find him.
11th January 2005
I have to say that after 5 months I did not think I would still be adding to this website and saying that we have not found Blake or anything of his! But I have not given up, and I can relate so much to the survivors of this appalling tsunami disaster, but at least they know for sure what it was that took their loved ones from them, I still don't know.
I have been examining the possibility of using some kind of specialist equipment that could detect a body in the silt in the river, but so far after speaking to experts, have drawn a blank. I have added another web page showing the state of the river now, very different from the summer!
So, I don't really know where to go from here, or what to do to further the search, any suggestions would be gratefully received. The only thing I can think of, is to take a psychic I have been working with to Chamonix to see if she can pinpoint where Blake is, but for that I need money, which I haven't got! I hate asking for money, but in this case because I can't think of any other way to do it, if anyone would like to help out I would be extremely grateful. Thank you. I have spent far too much of everything, time, money and energy trying to find Blake, but I cannot give up until I succeed. Any mother reading this will understand where I am coming from. If it is the last thing I do for him, and it probably will be, then I must do it. I would feel as though I had let him down in some way if I didn't at least try everything I can think of.
I do feel though, than whatever happens next, time is of the essence. The river is only going to stay shallow until the spring melt begins, after which it will be impossible to search in again.
24th December 2004
This is just to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, and to say a huge THANK YOU to all those people who have helped us so much, in so many different ways, for the kindness and thoughtfulness we have received, for all the messages, prayers and good wishes from so many kind people, some of whom we have never even met. We really have appreciated it all, and it has helped to keep us going through this appalling time, so thank you very much.
Blake always loved Christmas and would want you all to be having a good time, but I think he would also appreciate a glass being raised on Christmas day to "absent friends," just as he always did.
10th December 2004
I got home last night, very disappointed that another week of intensive searching has proved fruitless. The French police have been fantastic again, they have searched the 3 miles of river from the dam at Les Houches to Chamonix town thoroughly on foot for three days, put their divers into the freezing cold water for hours, they were even prepared to approach the Mayor of Chamonix in order to have a tree removed under which we thought Blake might be trapped, they had diggers digging in the silt that had accumulated from the summer torrents and they have promised to send their search helicopters up the river from Lake Geneva to Chamonix as soon as they can. They will go on searching whenever they can. We could not ask for them to do more. The Police in Chamonix work in dangerous conditions, their jobs are to constantly search for missing people but they do it in a most helpful, sympathetic and sensitive of ways and despite them saying "Oh, but it's our job," you know they want to find Blake just as much as the rest of us and they too, will do whatever it takes to achieve that.
Personally I searched and searched, up and down the river with the help of a wonderful friend and some of the most incredibly kind and sympathetic people you could wish to meet (Barney and his mates from Fresh Traxxx,) but still no clue. This was something that the Police commented on again, the fact that normally something is found, but in this case absolutely not one tiny clue, it is most unusual. It has to be said, it is like searching for a needle in a haystack, the terrain is extreme and vast, there is ice and snow on the ground, quicksand in the river, it is dangerous, freezing cold and despite the river levels now being very low and the water much clearer, you still cannot see exactly what is there because there are tons of silt and debris that have been deposited during the summer. The filtration units are drying out and they will be cleared in the spring, over the years 5 bodies have been found in there so far and the quarry people are very aware of what has happened and do monitor the clearing process. The people working in the quarries were also very accommodating, giving us a wave, and not minding as we trampled up and down through their quarries.
I also had a film crew with me who have filmed the weeks events, so maybe, one day you too can see what happened.
For now though, I think I have to wait until nature takes it's course and hopefully in the Spring we may have an answer, but I won't give up.
Today Blake should have passed out from Sandhurst at the Sovereign's parade.
26th November 2004
I have booked my flight for next Wednesday, 1st December to go back to Chamonix and I have just been told that the divers have already been in the river again and found nothing. So, what to do? Shall I try and convince them to go in and look again? Don't know. But I will go and see the police and see what they have to say. If anyone has any other ideas let me know.
13th November 2004I have been advised by the Chamonix Police that they will be putting the divers into the river again at the beginning of December. The water will be low enough then for them to go in safely.
4th November 2004
For those of you who may be wondering why I have embarked on this journey to discover the whereabouts of Blake, when it may be obvious where he has been all this time, may like to read this quote that someone sent to me by email and I think it answers that quite nicely - " A candle loses nothing by giving light to another candle!"
23rd October 2004
The latest news is that there isn't any really, so maybe that is a good thing, they do say "no news is good news!" But I am not so sure in this case, it would really nice to know something, anything! This does not mean I have given up, far from it.
Next week I will publish an account of the last 11 weeks, about was it has been like and what has happened.
29th September 2004
The missing person postcards have now been delivered to Grocontinental and they are very kindly giving them to all their European drivers, and also to all their visiting European drivers who will then take them onto the continent. Not only are they carrying them in their cabs as a reference but also distributing them to any Service Station or cafe they might visit, how fantastic is that!
Since my "mail shot" type postcards have arrived on people's mats, there has been a massive amount of emailing going on, which is absolutely brilliant and also rather humbling. I cannot get over how many truly wonderful, kind, people there out there willing to help with the search in all sorts of ways, not only by emailing everyone they can think of, but also offering all types of other help as well. Thank you so much everybody for your help, and for your messages, kind thoughts, and good wishes you have sent me.
25th September 2004
Blake's story is in this week's addition of the magazine, "Woman's Own."
24th September 2004
At last we have the postcards printed, with the 3 languages combined on each postcard, so any people going into Europe, in a truck or any kind of vehicle, if you would like some, or know of anybody with a haulage firm who could help us to distribute them, please contact me through the website and I will do my best to get them to you or them. Thanks also go to MAN Trucks West Midlands for helping us by giving a donation to help with the printing costs, the same as Grocontinental and Schmitz Cargobull have done. Without their extreme generosity, we could not have achieved this, so thank you very much indeed.
21st September 2004
Heard today that two of Blake's friends (blokes!) have both had the same dream that Blake has joined a monastery! If anyone else has had anything similar happen to them please do let us know. I have been to two psychics, and they both assure me that Blake is still very much alive, and there is a very strong religious connection, so who knows, maybe he is seeking retreat in a monastery! Whether you believe in psychics or not, until we have some evidence to say that Blake actually is in the river, I would definitely prefer to believe he is still alive and therefore we must do everything we can to find him, and trust me, I am!
13th September 2004
Website: www.blakehartley.com goes live.
12th September 2004:
Postcards being printed in three languages (Spanish, French and English) which will be carried by Truckers who are part of the Transfrigoroute (UK) Organisation (refrigerated container lorries) to carry with them as a reference for themselves and also to give to people in cafes etc (whoever they meet) all across Europe. They have also contacted their French and Spanish counterparts to do the same. This is being sponsored by Grocontinental and Schmitz Cargobull (UK) Ltd and possibly some other transport businesses with the help of Jane at Hodnet Transport Company and Emma at Transfigoroute. Many thanks to all of them for their help.