A DOTING daughter has thanked dozens of people who formed a search party to look for her father when he went missing.

Geoffrey Tuckwell, 72, who suffers with severe dementia and bipolar disorder, had been at the Bannatyne Health Club in Old Heath, Colchester, with wife of 50 years Norma when he walked off.

Unable to catch him up, she tried to follow him on the bus but he had disappeared.

Frantic with worry, the family contacted the police and also launched a Facebook appeal in a desperate bid to find him.

Despite darkness closing in, some 50 family, friends and neighbours from Greenstead where the couple have lived for some 40 years began a five hour search around Salary Brook and other places nearby.

But unbeknownst to the family, he had tripped near the Hythe and was helped by kindly passerby Jodie Green who ensured he was taken to Colchester Hospital for treatment to minor facial injuries.

However, because of his difficulties with his illness, Mr Tuckwell had said his name was Henry and was not carrying any identification.

It was not until Jodie noticed the online appeal and informed the family where Mr Tuckwell was that they were emotionally reunited.

Daughter, Victoria Leavett, heaped praise on the people who helped last month.

“Jodie stayed with him until the ambulance came,” she said.

“He didn’t have anything on him and we feared he might have got on a bus at Tesco and from there could have gone anywhere.

“There were more than 50 people looking for him.

“I had actually walked near to where he was found but obviously didn’t know it at the time.

“It got to the point where we were at the Hythe calling his name and worrying whether we were going to find him collapsed.

“I don’t know what would have happened if she had not helped him and seen the post on Facebook.

“The kindness all those people showed was amazing.

“You hear things about Greenstead a lot but it is not a bad place - you could not ask for nicer people.

“The police had the helicopter out and sniffer dogs but it was the community who helped us the most.”