By Douglas Walker
A CHARITABLE mum who disappeared just days after completing a parachute jump had been burdened by ‘a mountain of debt’ following her husband’s death.
Elizabeth Ledgerwood, 46, was last seen almost a week ago and there has been no trace of her since.
The former nurse has struggled to cope since her husband died leaving her to deal with their debt-ridden family business.
Yesterday her uncle, Jim Jardine, 66, made an emotional plea for her to get in touch and said the whole family were deeply concerned about her well-being.
Thrill-seeking Liz from Blackridge, West Lothian, is well known for her charity fundraising and had recently also free-fallen off the Forth Rail Bridge. She was also in the process of planning a sponsored ‘wing walk’.
Mr Jardine, also from Blackridge, says his niece had given no indication that she needed some time away.
Speaking from where Liz’s abandoned car was found he said: “The whole family are devastated, we just want Liz to get in touch and let us know she is okay. The younger members of the family are distraught.
“We want her to know there is no problem and everything is okay. She can come home when she is ready, we just want to know she is safe.
“It is very out of character for her to just disappear. She never at any point said ‘I need a break or a holiday’”
Together with her late husband, John Brunton, who died in 2006, they ran their own truck rental business which supplied lorries and tractors all over the country.
At the time of his death the company was struggling to balance the books and Liz has tried in vain to appease their creditors.
Tearful Jim said: “Liz and John started up their own truck rental business. However he was overly ambitious and the business got into financial difficulties.
“When he passed away Liz was left with a mountain of debt – thousands of pounds.
“She tried to pay them each month using the company’s income but it proved to be a real struggle.”
Liz has two sons, aged 18 and 17, and a daughter aged 15, who live with her at their Blackridge house. They are currently being looked after by their auntie and nan.
Liz was last seen leaving a friend’s house last Thursday morning. Her car was then spotted in remote countryside lay-by two hours later where it remained.
Detectives have appealed for any information on her activities during the interim period.
Chief Inspector Jim Baird from Lothian and Borders Police said: “She is at a crisis stage in her life and was under a lot of pressure.
“We are desperate to learn what she did after leaving her friend’s house on the Thursday morning.
“Her bank account hasn’t been touched since she was last seen. We know she has her mobile phone on her person but it is switched off.
“We are appealing for anyone with any information that can help us find Elizabeth to get in touch as soon as possible.”
Ten specialised search officers with counter terrorism training have been brought in to scour the area where her car was found.
Police dogs and officers on horseback are also searching the area for clues as to her possible whereabouts.
She is described as being white, around 5ft 6ins tall, slim, with green eyes and light fair/red shoulder-length hair.
She was last seen wearing a white and pink long-sleeved top, dark green or taupe trousers, white trainers, and was wearing a pink bracelet-style watch on her left wrist.