Family’s thanks as Canada search for backpacker, 22, continues

Tom Billings

Tom Billings

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Crime Reporter, also covering Barton and Wood Farm. Call me on (01865) 425427

THE family of missing hiker Tom Billings flew to Canada to thank the volunteers who are continuing to search for him.

The 22-year-old backpacker from Boars Hill has not been seen since he set off on a short mountain trek in Vancouver in November.

Canadian police halted the search in January and efforts were suspended until the snow cleared.

Now, as the snow is melting, the former Cokethorpe School pupil’s father Martin, mother Laura and sister Harriet have visited the North Shore Rescue team who have checked dangerous terrain and spent hundreds of hours searching for him.

Mr Billings, below, 52, said: “All those people are volunteers and they risked their lives to help us. There is a lot you don’t get out of writing a letter or penning an email that you do get out of a face to face meeting.

Oxford Mail:

“It seemed such an incredible thing they have done and are continuing to do.

“We wish it hadn’t been necessary but I feel humbled that there are people out there who do these sorts of things.”

During their visit last week, the family walked some of the route Tom may have taken before he disappeared.

Mr Billings, a lawyer with Milton Park based BrookStreet des Roches, said: “One thing you don’t get from the pictures is the sense of scale of the place.

“In some sense the piece of news I would really like to get is that every stone has been turned over and someone could say with absolute certainty that wherever Tom was he was not there.

“We would like there to be some explanation which involved Tom being somewhere else and doing something else. It is a possibility but a very faint possibility.

“I still every day look out of the window and think it would be really nice if Tom was walking up the path.”

North Shore Rescue spokesman Martin Danks said: “At the present time there is still snow in the Hanes Valley that is preventing us from continuing the ground search for Tom.

Oxford Mail:

  • Images from the helicopter search

“However, NSR as a team is very motivated to continue looking for Tom when we are in the area on another task or a maintenance run to one of our many caches in the back country.

“It was a pleasure meeting with the Billings family last week as over the past year we have established a very close relationship with them.”

The family visited Vancouver Police and gave blood DNA samples for the force to use.

Vancouver Police spokesman Brian Montague said: “The North Shore Search and Rescue are regularly on the mountains for training and to look for individuals that have run into trouble or are lost.”

 

 

 

Our top stories:

Neighbours uniting to save Marston pub from demolition

Oxford Mail:

6:00am Tuesday 28th April 2015

NEIGHBOURS are uniting to save a Marston pub in danger of being demolished next year.

UPDATE: Oxford City properties hit by power cut 'back on by 11.30pm' say SSE

Oxford Mail: light bulb with power lines

8:44pm Monday 27th April 2015

PROPERTIES affected by power cuts in Oxfordshire today are being brought back online in phases.

Murder accused is kept in custody after stabbing victim found in car

Oxford Mail: Thames Valley Police logo

8:30am Monday 27th April 2015

A 34-YEAR-OLD will appear in court tomorrow accused of murdering the man found fatally wounded in a car in Barton.

Charity dance competition is strictly sensational

Oxford Mail:

8:30am Monday 27th April 2015

ALL the glitz and glamour of the ballroom was brought to Oxford’s New Theatre on Saturday as couples danced off in the Strictly Oxford competition.

Mum fights to have vital drug made available through NHS

Oxford Mail:

8:30am Monday 27th April 2015

A MUM whose husband and young son are fighting the same rare life-threatening disease is campaigning to gain access to vital medication on the NHS.

Footballers’ tribute to tragic Kyle

Oxford Mail:

8:30am Monday 27th April 2015

FRIENDS and family of tragic Kyle Byfield came together for a memorial football tournament in Banbury on Sunday.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree