Son’s thanks for those who saved father’s life

Ashton Baines, 81, from Manton.
Ashton Baines, 81, from Manton.
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The son of a pensioner who was found in a field two days after going missing says his dad “owes his life” to those who helped with the search.

Ashton Baines, 81, disappeared from the care home in Manton where he lives at about 10pm on Tuesday last week.

He owes his life to them, and we can’t ever thank them enough.

Jon Baines

A search was launched for Mr Baines, who suffers from dementia and other medical conditions. Police put out a press release and articles on the Mercury website were shared across social media.

Concern grew as Mr Baines remained missing for two days. But thankfully at about 4.45pm on Thursday last week he was found face down in a field of oilseed rape due to be harvested the next day.

Mr Baines’ son Jon spent the two days while his father was missing searching constantly for him, and was overcome with relief when he was found. He now wants to thank all those who helped find his father and avert what could have been a tragedy.

Writing in his blog, Jon described the emotional turmoil he went through once he found out his father was missing. He said: “I jumped in the car with my wife, and we drove the 80 miles to Manton. There then followed nearly 48 hours of constant driving, walking paths, telephone calls and growing despair, as we and the large police and search and rescue presence failed to find my father, or any sign of him. The only strong sightings of him had been from shortly after he must have left the care home.”

Jon described the place where his father was found. He said: “There he had lain for 40-odd hours, in a spot half a mile down a steep heavily rutted farm track so remote that – although some of us had previously searched part way down the track which led to it – it seemed barely credible he could have been there.

“He was badly dehydrated, and sunburnt (his disappearance coincided – thanks goodness – with some mild and partially sunny weather, and the nights were not cold) but fortunately, although he seems to have fallen in the field, the crops and his clothing (again thank goodness – he had full clothing on, including a fleece and a few layers of clothing) meant he was only slightly bruised.”

Jon’s frantic tweet sent on Wednesday morning, followed by his first ever Facebook post, was retweeted 2,000 times. He got replies from public figures such as Alison Moyet and Caroline Flack. He said: “I can’t thank people enough for doing this, and equally, my gratitude to those who sent me direct messages of support is unbounded.”

Mr Baines is now recovering in hospital. Jon is full of gratitude to those who helped search on the ground, including police, and the “remarkable” volunteers of the various Lowland Rescue groups. Rescuers came from across the East Midlands and as far away as Staffordshire and Yorkshire. He has urged those who saw his story to donate to Lowland Rescue at www.lowlandrescue.org/support-us.

He said: “He owes his life to them, and we can’t ever thank them enough. Our family is making an appropriate donation to Lowland Rescue, and we would strongly encourage everyone to do so: what happened to us could happen to any family.”