Delayed New Year celebrations for missing man
CELEBRATIONS have taken place later than usual for one family as John Brown was finally reunited with his family after vanishing abroad on New Year s Eve. As reported in the Comet last week, the 63-year-old went missing while holidaying in France with his
CELEBRATIONS have taken place later than usual for one family as John Brown was finally reunited with his family after vanishing abroad on New Year's Eve.
As reported in the Comet last week, the 63-year-old went missing while holidaying in France with his wife Sandra.
However, the Baldock bricklayer finally walked into the British embassy on January 3 after sleepless, hungry nights walking through Paris with no passport or money.
John is now recovering back at his home in Hill Crest, with the support of his daughters Simone King, 38 of Ivel Way, Baldock and Martine Brown, 32 from Letchworth GC.
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The family are still waiting for the results of medical tests to prove that he is recovering from the ordeal.
Sandra, 58, said: "We landed in Paris Wednesday morning to start searching for him, but then we got the call to say he'd been found.
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"I was so relieved. To have had nothing to eat or drink for 48 hours he looked terrible and shattered. He slept and slept; he hit the pillow and didn't wake up until the next day.
"I've taken him to the doctors to have him checked over as he's already had a stroke 11 years ago and this won't help.
"I thought he was going to be dead, I thought I'd be bringing him back in a body bag."
John may be back in safe hands but he will never forget the ordeal he suffered after his festive break turned into the holiday from hell.
The couple were taking a trip on the Champs-Elysees to bring in the New Year when John wandered away from the group to use the toilet. However, when he tried to get back he said: "I got caught up in the crowd and I couldn't get back because I got pushed further and further away."
As Sandra had all his belongings on her, he said: "I thought, 'I've got no passport and no money, I don't know what I'm going to do!'"
John saw the coach drive off into the distance and waited in the same spot until the following morning when he realised it was not returning.
He then "roamed around like a tramp", starting a fire in a phone box to keep warm on Tuesday, January 2, and ended up sleeping on a bench in a police station later that night.
On Wednesday morning, John finally got to speak to somebody from the British embassy. He said: "As soon as I said the name 'Brown' everything went crazy."
While he was wandering the streets his frantic family had contacted TV stations, police stations and had arranged to go back to Paris on Wednesday to hand out the 5,000 leaflets they had produced.
John's daughter Simone said: "It wasn't until New Year's Day when my friend Sam Wilkinson and her husband got everything on the go as none of us could think straight."
She said: "I feel very emotional and very lucky as many people have missing persons and don't ever get to see them again.