‘This is the reality of living in a place like Ottery’ - football club and community thanked for missing boy search
PUBLISHED: 17:00 03 September 2019 | UPDATED: 08:12 04 September 2019
The Ottery community has been praised for pulling together to find an 11-year-old boy when he went missing.
Ottery Town Council agreed on Monday (September 2) to formally thank Ottery St Mary Football Club for opening its clubhouse as a makeshift meeting point.
The club put on floodlights at its Washbrook Meadow grounds and acted as the meeting point to allow search parties to identify roads that had not been searched.
Residents were quick to act after the family put out an appeal after the boy hopped out of his bedroom window at around 8.30pm on Tuesday, August 6.
He was located in the early hours of the following morning near Otter Garden Centre, nearly half a mile away from his house.
At Ottery Town Council on Monday, a statement was read out on behalf of Councillor Vicky Johns praising the community who rallied to the family's aid.
The councillor, along with her husband and daughter, joined the large search party who combed the town to find him.
Cllr Johns said: "The football club opened its doors and arranged a meeting point for the search teams. Thankfully in the early hours of the Wednesday morning the young child was found safe and well, if not rather cold.
"He was reunited with his exceptionally relieved and grateful parents, who thanked the residents profusely for their kindness in coming out and helping them search.
"There were so many people out that night searching, people who knew the family through their connections with the football club but also many people who had just come out because it was a vulnerable person missing.
"This is the reality of living in a place like Ottery, where in times of crisis people pull together and that is what we should remember when we see so many negative things that we don't like, if we pull together as a community we can achieve anything."
Mayor Roger Giles said it was a 'good outcome' and thanked the community and the club for helping.
The family had previously thanked all those involved.
His aunt told the Herald: "Thank you so much to everyone who helped. I think the community gets a bit of a short shrift from people who do say they are not the community they used to be.
"I would bitterly dispute that - last night was the true meaning of the word 'community'.
"They did not stop, they stayed throughout the whole four-hour search."
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