A DEVASTATED mother of a Hartlepool-born student missing in Thailand has launched an international appeal to find him.
Tom Armstrong flew out last April for a gap year on the island of Koh Tao, where he took a dive master course.
The 22-year-old kept in contact with his family in Kelsale, Suffolk, by email and Facebook.
But he last made contact on Sunday, January 6, when he said he would be flying home the following Tuesday.
Despite paying for his tickets Mr Armstrong, who spent two years on a Btec engineering course at New College Durham, in Durham City, did not board the flight and has not been heard from since.
The former Sacred Heart RC Primary School pupil lived in Hutton Avenue and Granville Avenue until the age of seven before his family moved south.
Cash has been withdrawn from his bank account in the last few weeks and it is believed that he is still in Thailand, possibly in the capital Bangkok.
His mother, Helen Armstrong-Bland, said her son had said he was in some kind of trouble without elaborating to her.
The 46-year-old teacher added: “Life is like a rollercoaster at the moment and we are besides ourselves with worry.
“Tom is a kind, considerate, sensitive person, who often puts others needs before his own.
“He loves the outdoors, nature and in particular water sports and ocean life.”
His mother said he was seeking a career in the Royal Navy when he broke his leg and had to postpone his application.
He felt it was the perfect opportunity to pursue his love of diving by taking a course in Thailand.
Mrs Armstrong-Bland added: “We desperately want him home as we are all missing him terribly, especially his brothers Luke, George and his little sister Bella who Tom adores.
“I would urge him to get in touch with us or with police and let us know that he is ok.”
Tom is 6ft 2ins, of medium build with fair, slightly wavy medium length hair and sometimes has a short beard, which is more red than fair.
Anyone with information should call Suffolk Police on 101 of contact the Facebook page Missing Tom Armstrong.