Two-year hunt for Claudia to be marked at Minster

Claudia Lawrence
Claudia Lawrence
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A CANDLELIT vigil will be held in York Minster to mark the birthday of missing Claudia Lawrence as police admit they are no closer to solving the mystery surrounding her disappearance.

Family and friends of Miss Lawrence will be joined by the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, in the cathedral to mark her 37th birthday on Sunday next weekend.

The plans were confirmed yesterday as North Yorkshire Police admitted detectives involved in the murder inquiry are no closer to finding out what has happened to the York University chef nearly two years after she vanished.

Her father, Peter Lawrence, is hoping other families who have also endured the heartache of a relative going missing will attend the event.

The Minster has provided a welcome refuge for Mr Lawrence, 64, from his ordeal and he is a regular worshipper at the cathedral.

But one of his close friends, Martin Dales, stressed that the event, dubbed The Vigil for the Missing, is not a religious service.

Mr Dales, who lives in Old Malton in North Yorkshire, said: “Peter is keen that other people who have had a relative or loved one go missing will attend the vigil – there is an open invitation.

“York Minster has a special place in Peter’s heart as he is a regular worshipper there, but it is an event that is open to all faiths – or anyone who has no faith at all.

“It is an opportunity for Claudia’s friends and family to mark her birthday. It certainly does not get any easier, and every birthday or Christmas is an extremely tough time for everyone who loves Claudia.”

Miss Lawrence’s friends and family will lead a procession starting from the Mansion House at 2.15pm to the Minster for the start of the vigil.

Both the Archbishop and the Dean of York, Keith Jones, are due to speak at the vigil, which will take place at the Minster’s High Altar.

A Choral Evensong will be held afterwards when prayers will be said for Miss Lawrence and all those who have gone missing.

A North Yorkshire Police spokeswoman confirmed the investigation is still continuing but she admitted that there has been no breakthrough in the case.

Detectives involved in the inquiry have said that Miss Lawrence’s tangled love life, including affairs with married men, has been one of the biggest challenges.

Many of the chef’s former lovers have been reticent about coming forward to disclose details of their relationships to police.

The spokeswoman said: “The investigation into the disappearance of Claudia Lawrence is still continuing, although there have been no major developments. We would ask anyone with information to contact us.”

Mr Lawrence, a solicitor from Slingsby in North Yorkshire, accused the Government last month of failing to support the families of missing people. He claimed the Ministry of Justice had been obstructing attempts to overhaul the law to provide more support for anyone who is having to deal with a missing person’s estate.

Some families have lost their homes and jobs as they battled to pay the unexpected bills.

The Ministry of Justice stated there are no plans to change legislation as any new law would apply to only a “relatively small number of cases”.