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Family thank Lyme Regis for search help
THE family of a man who went missing in Lyme Regis and was later found dead has thanked all those who helped in the search.
Simon Dowthwaite's disappearance in January sparked a major search involving dozens of emergency service personnel, local search and rescue volunteers, and members of the public who offered their help.
Mr Dowthwaite, from Purton in Wiltshire, left his car at Holmbush car park and is believed to have jumped from the Cobb.
The 41-year-old's body was found washed up on rocks at Seven Rock Point a day after he was reported missing.
Mr Dowthwaite's sister Alison has now expressed her gratitude to everyone who joined in the search.
She said: “My mum and dad and I felt we wanted to say thank you to all the people for the effort they put in. We felt it was important that we said that.
“We did appreciate the work that people put in - it's such a small community.
“I contacted the people at Dorset Search and Rescue (DORSAR) and got a nice response from them. They said thank you for getting in touch.
“People do these jobs every day but they don't often get thanks for it. “People have read about it, the stories often go by and they realise there's a bad end, but as a family we thought it was really important to say thank you, despite the way it ended.
“There wasn't a good outcome in this case but in the future there might be.”
Miss Dowthwaite said her brother was from Swindon but recently lived in Purton and enjoyed visiting Lyme Regis.
“It was an area he visited as an adult,” she said. “It was an area he knew so well and it meant a lot to him.
“That's why we felt it was important to say thank you to Lyme Regis.”
A wide-scale land and sea search was launched on January 23 involving police from Dorset and Wiltshire, the force helicopter, police dogs, Lyme Regis and Beer Coastguards, Lyme Regis RNLI lifeboat and Dorset Search and Rescue to find Mr Dowthwaite.
His body, which was found by walkers, was recovered by the lifeboat to the west of the Cobb the following morning.
Local shops and businesses were shown a photograph of Mr Dowthwaite in the hope of finding him.
Miss Dowthwaite, who lives in Poole, said she relied upon reports on the Lyme Regis News website for updates on the search.
“The police informed my mum and dad because obviously it was their son but we are not next of kin.
“Apart from that we read all the articles from the newspaper.”
Miss Dowthwaite said it was a very distressful time, adding: “It still is upsetting but these things happen in people's lives.”