Joan Lawrence has appeared in public sporting a new wig, which she says has made her more determined than ever to keep fighting for Claudia.
Family of missing Claudia Lawrence frustrated at long wait for DNA test resultsThe chef went missing in March 2009 and, despite extensive police investigations and reviews, her body has never been found.
Joan still has no definitive answer as to what happened to her but refuses to give up hope, despite officers believing she may have been murdered.
She said: “I can’t ever give up hope that I’ll see Claudia again one day – and I have to look my best for her, don’t I?”
She puts the loss of her hair through alopecia down to the anxiety but wants to speak out in the hope that it helps lift the stigma around hair loss.
Joan, who lives in Malton, North Yorkshire, said: “My hair just kept getting thinner and I can’t pretend it didn’t get me down.”
Thanks to her doctor referring her to Betty Brown Wigs in York, Joan said she had been given renewed confidence.
She said: “I went along and tried on lots of different wigs and took advice on what suited me best. The response from people has been phenomenal.
“People might give me a double-take in the supermarket or in the street but then they come up and say it’s taken 20 years off me.
“No matter how bad I’ve felt, I’ve always been determined to stay proud and not let myself go. Hopefully, that’s what I’ve done.
“Having the wig and hearing the response from people has given me a real lift. I look in the mirror and feel more determined than ever to keep fighting for Claudia. That’s all I can do.”
Joan said the day of her wig-fitting coincided with one of the windiest days of the year.
Disappointed and depressed: Father’s agony as Claudia Lawrence probe is scaled downShe said: “There was a right gale blowing and I was terrified it would fly off, but I’m getting used to it now. You have to laugh, don’t you?”
Claudia was last seen walking to her workplace at York University on March 18, 2009.
She was reported missing the next day and a huge search campaign ensued.
Officers received more than 1,000 calls about Claudia after her father Peter Lawrence appealed for information.
By that May police were treating the case as suspected murder and had received more than 1,000 calls about Claudia.
In October 2013 officers announced a fresh case review and forensic search of Claudia's home.
A total six men have been arrested on suspicion of Claudia's murder but no one has ever been charged.
In January 2017, Yorkshire Police announced the investigation, which has cost more than £1million to date, will be scaled down.
The tenth anniversary of Claudia going missing from her home falls on March 18 next year and Joan said it represented another opportunity to keep the case in the public eye.
She is working on a book and plans another appearance on TV’s Loose Women in the run-up to the anniversary.
Sarah Young: Claudia Lawrence case highlights how Government is leaving families of missing people in limboJoan said: “There have been lots of really dark days and I don’t know how I’ve kept my sanity at times.
“But I have to keep going for Claudia’s sake – it won’t do her any good if I just lock myself away and be miserable, will it?”