‘We’re here for you’ says charity as search for Shaun Horan at Preston Docks goes on

A missing persons charity has urged family and friends to reach out for support as a desperate search for a man at Preston Docks enters its third week.

Wednesday, 19th February 2020, 8:35 am
Updated Wednesday, 19th February 2020, 11:24 am
Shaun Horan, 48, from Preston, was last seen close to the Green Frog food van in Mariner's Way, Preston Docks at around 6.30am on Monday (February 3)

Shaun Horan, 48, was last seen on CCTV leaving his car at the ‘Green Frog’ car park in Mariner’s Way, Preston at 6.30am on Monday, February 3.

He has not been seen or heard from since.

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Everything we know about the search for missing Preston man Shaun Horan

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Police divers searching Preston dock

Family support manager Remi Arnold at UK charity Missing People has a message for those whose friends or family members go missing.

“We are here,” she said. “Don’t hesitate to call anytime.

“Sometimes its just about having a listening ear for people and sometimes it’s about being directed to more information.

“It’s a traumatic thing.

“Families can have a real range of emotions that they are faced with including sadness, people can feel isolated and they can feel distressed.

“If you can imagine a cycle of grief that a person is in but they don’t get off it. We talk about it as an ambiguous loss.

“They may not improve in a linear fashion. Everyone responds very differently to it.

“It’s a cycle that we keep going round.

“Missing People aims to be in that space for when people are experiencing that ambiguity, that not knowing.

“There isn’t a closure, there’s not an end - there isn’t an answer.

“It’s not something you’re able to validate. In our human condition, we want answers.” Station officer for Lytham’s Coastguard Paul Little has a lot of experience searching for missing people.

His coastguard team has not been directly involved in the hunt for Shaun Horan in Preston but he told the Post what tends to happen when an emergency call comes in.

“We normally work hand in hand with the police,” he said. “As a result of the police asking us to search we would be looking at when and where the person was last seen - that is particularly the case if someone has gone into the water.

“We’d want to know if there were any indicators or previous history which might suggest that they would enter the water.

“Then we would look at the tides.

“The weather and tides can affect the flow of water out to sea.

“If we are searching for a missing person in Blackpool, for example, when the tides are high we’ll search the promenade on foot.

“The RNLI lifeboats will search in the water and the coastguard helicopter will support us from the air.

“What we would do then, if we were unsuccessful, is do a low water search - bearing in mind there’s a six-hour difference.

“At Preston Docks if someone’s gone in the dock they will still be in the dock. But during the summer time when the dock gates are open it might push people towards the river and out to sea.

“What we try and do is try to be as professional as possible. Normally when we search a river bank for example we have a team on each bank.

“The more people we have got to search the better chance of finding people.

“As searchers, the police, coastguard and mountain rescue team, all look slightly differently at things which is helpful.”

Get help if you know someone who is missing

Missing People’s family support manager Remi Arnold says that the charity does everything it can to provide robust help for friends and family if someone they know is missing.

“We offer free counselling,” she said. “We have a designated family support team and a 24/7 help line. It allows people to communicate over text and email as well as call. We also have a chat service for younger people.

“When you’re experiencing this type of loss people may need help but find it hard to reach out. So we get referrals from the police for people for us to call.

“We also have events during the year. People can come to them and have a chance to speak to others who understand.

“And we have an online forum or community space for families to interact with each other.”