By Karrie Gillett
THE family of missing pensioner Mary Ferns has made a desperate appeal for fresh information – six months after she disappeared.
The 88-year-old vanished from her home in Livingston after telling her husband she was going to buy some tights at a nearby shopping centre.
But two months after her disappearance, police released CCTV footage showing Mrs Ferns in Edinburgh’s Princes Street on June 17 – the day she went missing.
Today, her stepdaughter Anne Foster said that living with the mystery of where Mary, also known as May, had gone on the day she went shopping in June was “very, very difficult.”
She said: “The not knowing what has happened to her is really the biggest thing for the whole family.
“It certainly looks in the CCTV footage that she got what she was looking for but we don’t even know if she ever made it back on the bus to come home.
“It looks like she might have been on the way back to the bus but we don’t know and we really need to know what the missing piece of the jigsaw is.”
“We are forever wanting her to just walk through the door. We really just want her to be safe and well.”
Mrs Foster was joined by Mary’s other stepdaughter Margaret Ross along with Chief Inspector Jim Baird from Lothian and Borders Police.
Chief Insp Baird pleaded with members of the public seen in the CCTV images to get in touch if they could remember any small detail about the day Mary left her home in the Howden area of Livinsgton and got a bus to the capital.
He said: “What we are hoping is that anyone who remembers seeing Mary that day, either in Edinburgh or anywhere else, will get in touch.
“Also, we are keen to talk to anyone who recognizes themselves in the CCTV footage, to find out where Mary may have gone from there.
“Rest assured, we are not giving up hope of finding Mary, and will continue to do all we can to locate her.”
The CCTV images of a woman shopping in Edinburgh – which her two stepdaughters identified as being Mary – are the only lead officers have in the case.
Chief Insp Baird said: “The footage has opportunity for further investigation and we can glean lines from this if we can identify the people who saw Mrs Ferns that day.
“Even if it’s the wrong day, the wrong time, we can rule it out. I would rather have ten red herrings than miss the single piece of information that could well break this open and solve this for us.”
He added: “It’s been six long and difficult months for Mary’s family and as Christmas is traditionally a time for families to reunite, Mary’s absence is being felt all the more.”
And Mrs Foster admitted the family never expected to have to endure a six-month nightmare of not knowing what happened to the 88-year-old.
She said: “We had no idea that this would go on as long as this and not having her around for Christmas will trigger a lot of emotions for us.
“She enjoyed Christmas so much and loved spending the time with all her family. That makes it even harder for us to come to terms with.”
There has been no trace of the missing woman – who is hard of hearing and with failing eyesight – despite media appeals and police hunts involving a search of the River Almond.
Mary is described as around 5ft 3in tall, slim build, grey short hair and green eyes.
She was wearing a brown three-quarter length jacket, brown skirt, brown shoes and carrying a brown handbag. She may still be carrying the distinctive blue floral walking stick with a brass handle.
Mrs Foster added: “May is a very determined and independent lady but we are so worried.
“I have absolutely no idea what has happened to May, it’s incredibly strange. It’s a mystery to us all.”