Social media campaign marks anniversary of Ben Needham’s disappearance

THE family of Sheffield toddler Ben Needham are hoping a social media campaign on the 24th anniversary of his disappearance could lead to new information to help their search.

Ben Needham
Ben Needham

Ben was 21 months old when he vanished on July 24 1991 after travelling to the island of Kos with his mother and his grandparents.

Today, the family has taken to social media to try to encourage as many people as possible to share an appeal about missing Ben.

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The official Facebook page “Help Find Ben Needham” said it would be posting pictures throughout the day - including a special photograph at the time Ben went missing - to help raise awareness.

The campaign is also urging people to sign up to a Thunderclap, which will post an appeal about Ben’s case on supporters’ Facebook and Twitter accounts at midnight.

More than 1,700 people had signed up to the event, which is expected to be seen by more than 1,250,000 people.

People were also being urged to change their profile pictures to one showing a photograph of Ben as a 21-month-old alongside an artist’s impression of what he would look like now.

A post on the Help Find Ben Needham page said: “As today is the 24th anniversary of Ben’s disappearance, we will be sharing various pictures throughout the day.

“At 2:30pm, which is the approximate time that Ben went missing, we will be sharing a special â?ª#FFâ?¬ â?ª#FotoFridayâ?¬ picture with you. Please feel free to share them on your all your social networking sites.

“With these pictures and the Thunderclap filling social networking sites hopefully this will lead to someone coming forward with new information, possibly Ben himself.”

Earlier this year, Ben’s mother Kerry Needham, grandmother Christine Needham and sister Leighanna appeared on Greek television with South Yorkshire Police detectives.

Mrs Needham said the programme was a “huge success” resulting in more than 100 contacts from Greek people and police said they were following up a number of new lines of inquiry.

Detectives recently returned to Greece to interview a number of people about the case.

In January this year, South Yorkshire Police were granted £700,000 of Home Office funding to support the Greek authorities in continuing inquiries to find Ben.

The force asked for the financial help to follow up information the family believes has never been properly investigated.

The Home Office backed a South Yorkshire Police operation in 2012 when land was excavated on Kos, near the farmhouse where Ben went missing. No trace of him was found.