Claudia Lawrence: family spokesperson Martin Dales dies just weeks after revealing vow to keep missing chef's memory alive

The spokesperson for the family of missing York chef Claudia Lawrence has died aged 66, just weeks after making an impassioned plea for the public not to forget her.

Martin Dales, of Old Malton, was close friends with Claudia’s father Peter, who died last year aged 74, and in recent months had worked with media outlets across the region and UK to keep Claudia’s case in the spotlight.

Mr Dales’ death was announced on Sunday.

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He ran the FindClaudia website for many years, collating information and tip-offs from the public about the disappearance of Ms Lawrence, who was last seen in March 2009.

Martin Dales’ death was announced on Sunday.

In February, he hosted a press conference in York to mark 13 years since her disappearance, where he revealed he had made a vow to the late Peter Lawrence that his daughter would not be forgotten.

Speaking then to The Yorkshire Post, he said: “He asked me to do this - to keep his daughter Claudia’s name in public lights and not forgotten by the authorities looking for her.”

He also shared that information was still being passed on through the FindClaudia website over a decade after the last confirmed sighting.

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Speaking after Peter Lawrence’s death, Mr Dales said: “It is sad that nearly 12 years after Claudia’s disappearance from York Peter never found out what has happened to her.

“He was a very private person thrust into the full glare of the media and despite a tireless campaign to find her, he also selflessly devoted himself to helping others with missing relatives through the charity Missing People.”

Mr Dales is survived by his wife Hazel and daughters Jessica and Rachel.

He was also a long-standing member of Thirsk and Malton Conservatives where he served as chairman from 2016 to 2019.

Announcing his death on social media, his daughter Jessica wrote: “His courage and fight lasted all the way to the end and we are immensely proud of the loving father and husband that he was and his life of service to others.

“We can only hope that we can continue and follow in his footsteps and always keep his memory alive.”

No one has ever been charged in connection with Claudia Lawrence’s disappearance.

Last year North Yorkshire Police revealed new intelligence had led them to search land and water at Sand Hutton gravel pits on the outskirts of York, but following an intensive search, nothing was found, and the case remains unsolved.