Peel Zonta Club Missing Persons Memorial Service held indoors for first time

Mandurah MLA David Templeman, Margaret Dodd, Mayor Rhys Williams, deputy Mayor Caroline Knight and Scott Ellery from the Salvation Army at the service.
Mandurah MLA David Templeman, Margaret Dodd, Mayor Rhys Williams, deputy Mayor Caroline Knight and Scott Ellery from the Salvation Army at the service.

ALTHOUGH Peel Zonta Club’s annual Missing Persons Memorial Service has survived more stormy days than sunny over the past 12 years, stormy conditions this year forced it inside for the first time.

The ceremony was held today in the City of Mandurah Tuckey Room with arguably the biggest attendance yet.

Margaret Dodd, mother of teenager Hayley who disappeared north of Perth while hitch hiking in the early 90s and has never been found, said more than 2600 people were missing long term in Australia.

Margaret Dodd at the ceremony.

“Their lives have often come to a tragic end, some by their own hands, some by the hands of others and some by misadventure but until you know what has happened to them you are left wondering and praying that one day they can be brought home and laid to rest,’’ she said.

Mrs Dodd said she had “been down that road before,’’ recalling 23 years earlier in the UK when her father went out and never returned.

His family assumed he had left but five weeks later his body was found in a canal by two teenagers after he had slipped on ice and fallen into the freezing water, causing his heart to stop.

Forty thousand people go missing in Australia each year, according to Senior Sergeant Darren Hart.

Senior Sergeant Hart said 305,000 were reported missing between 2008 and 2015 and almost half were between 13 and 17 years old.

Ninety eight per cent were found.

The Missing Persons Memorial on the eastern foreshore was created by Peel Zonta Club in 2000 and took six years to complete.

It was unveiled in 2006.