A HARTLEPOOL family are sending prayers Down Under after a relative went missing in Australian bushland.
Gary Tweddle – whose grandparents Phoebe and Dev Tweddle were landlords of two town pubs over 40 years ago – vanished in the early hours of last Tuesday morning after attending a work seminar in the Blue Mountains suburb of Leura.
Today his aunt, Hartlepool woman Joanne Tweddle, said the 23-year-old then went for a walk and made a phone call to a friend when he realised he was lost.
She said the whole family was scared for his safety as it was “pitch black and there were ravines either side of him”, and his phone has since “gone dead”.
Australian news reports have revealed how over 150 people joined in a search party to look for Gary, who went missing in the early hours of Tuesday morning. His Hartlepool-born dad David Tweddle, who is Joanne’s husband’s brother, is flying out to be there.
Joanne, who works at Asda, in Marina Way, Hartlepool, said: “Gary is my nephew. We don’t know much. His phone’s gone dead and they can’t find him.
“Over the weekend there’s been a massive search for him. We’re trying to keep in contact with family over the Internet as much as possible.”
She added: “We found out on Monday, it’s just awful. We just don’t know where he is and now the weather’s getting very serious, it’s very cold on a night.
“We’re just praying for him, we’re really worried.”
Other members of Gary’s family in England are publicising his disappearance on social-networking site Facebook.
Gary’s grandparents used to run the Owton Manor Lodge pub, in Seaton Lane, Hartlepool, and also the North Eastern pub, off Church Street.
Gary’s dad married Carole Tweddle and lived in the Newcastle area for a time but moved around the country a lot due to him being in the Army. The pair split and Carole moved with her family, including Gary who was aged around 11-years-old at the time, to Australia.
Detective Inspector Mick Bostock told Australian media that Gary, who has a sister Amy, was “extremely fit” and has experience in the harsh terrains of Wales and Scotland after numerous rock climbing expeditions.