Family refuses to give up hope lost son is alive

ON MONDAY it will be two years since the Gosden family had their last normal weekday morning.

Andrew Gosden, then 14, got ready for school as usual, said goodbye to his parents and elder sister Charlotte, and headed off to McAuley Catholic High School in Doncaster.

It was the last time Kevin and Glenys Gosden saw their son, who never arrived at school that morning.

Instead, Andrew returned home, changed out of his school uniform into his usual "goth"-style clothes and withdrew 200 from his savings account, with which he bought a one-way train ticket to London.

The last confirmed sighting of the schoolboy is a grainy CCTV image which captured him leaving King's Cross railway station on September 14, 2007.

Over the past two years the Gosden family have travelled the country searching for Andrew, as well as conducting numerous appeals, contacting schools and youth centres nationwide, holding church services and arranging appeals through missing persons' charities.

Despite none of these campaigns throwing up a single confirmed sighting, the Gosdens, from Balby, are still refusing to give up hope that he is alive.

To mark two years since his disappearance, they have written Andrew another letter in the hope that he will see it and make contact.

"We have all missed you so much since the day you left," it reads. "Not a day goes by that you are not in our minds constantly.

"You were always so witty, polite, caring and intelligent that we desperately miss your company.

"The same is true of all your friends and the thousands of people who have prayed for you and helped us search for you.

"If you should ever read this, forget about any water under the bridge and please have no fear about making contact with us.

"We do not care where you have been or what lifestyle you choose for yourself.

"We only want to know that you are safe and well and to help and support you if we can.

"We remain as proud of you as we have always been and love you deeply."

This week, new age-progressed photographs of Andrew have been released, to show how he may look as a 16 year old.

Mr Gosden, who has struggled with depression since his son's disappearance, says he hopes the images may bring about a new sighting.

He said: "We would ask people to think laterally and consider if they may have met someone Andrew's age just in the last two years, as well as look at the images. That would really be a help."

On Monday, he will be remaining at home to deal with any possible sightings while his wife Glenys and daughter Charlotte are holidaying in Tunisia.

Mr Gosden said: "That may sound strange, but it's a last holiday together before Charlie goes to university and also a way of being at least physically distant from that difficult day.

"We are not all going as we have not come to terms with the idea of all being out of the country at once, and also because Charlie finds holidays with three of us particularly poignant and difficult still.

"What the day may hold for me, I do not know. If I don't get any 'bites' then I shall spend it with friends and we will pray a lot for Andrew."

He added that there was still no clue as to why his son decided to run away.

Mr Gosden said: "I'm as baffled as ever. Did he decide to do the Reginald Perrin thing and reinvent himself? Or was there something troubling him that he felt he couldn't tell us?

"I still think that his disappearance was spur of the moment. But who knows. It's all speculation.

"Doing all this publicity and talking about Andrew is hard, but I feel I have to do it for my son. I can never give up hope."

Anyone with information on Andrew's whereabouts should call Doncaster Police on 01302 385146 or the Missing People Helpline on 0500 700700