The family of a missing Doncaster man are set to see their search to find him boosted - thanks to a social media tool that will help them reach over 1.7million people on the anniversary of his disappearance.
Andrew Gosden was just 14-years-old when he left his Balby home, took £200 from his bank account, before getting on a train to London Kings Cross station where he was last seen on September 7, 2007.
Since then, his heartbroken family have exhausted every tool at their disposal to find him - from national television appeals to placing his picture on billboards and lorries in the capital city.
But now, after signing up to use a new social-media tool called Thunderclap - the Gosden family are set to share their appeal to find Andrew with more than 1,709,000 people across the country at 5pm on Monday - the eighth anniversary of his disappearance.
Thunderclap works by sending out a synchronised post on the Facebook and Twitter accounts of everyone who has signed up to the project, and over the past few months the Gosdens have been appealing for as many people as possible to sign up to it.
Andrew’s dad, Kevin Gosden, says the Thunderclap project has helped to give him ‘hope’ that they might finally find out what happened to the former McAuley Catholic High School pupil.
“The more of these posts that go out, the more chance we have of someone, somewhere who knows something about what happened to him seeing it,” said Kevin, of Littlemore Lane, Balby.
The 49-year-old continued: “This Thunderclap thing is amazing, our friend Larry helped us set it up.
“When Andrew went missing we didn’t have things like this, so we’re hoping this might mean we can reach different people to the ones who may have seen our appeal in the past.”
Commenting on the family’s continuing distress over Andrew’s disappearance, Kevin added: “It’s really hard because we have done so much in the past to find Andrew, but have never had any concrete information on what happened.”
“We haven’t lost hope that he might be out there somewhere, but after so long we’re concentrating on just being able to find out what happened.
“Since he disappeared, Andrew’s missed a lot of big family events - and we always think of him when we have them. But now his sister Charlotte is due to get married and it’s such a big thing for him to miss.
“They were best friend, and so for him to miss that as well would be devastating. If he reads this somehow, we just Andrew to know that we, all of us, love him and care about him so much and just want to know that he’s okay.”
Kevin says he hopes other families can learn from Andrew’s disappearance and urges all parents to make a note of the Missing People helpline on 116 000 - something he says should be considered as important as dialling 999 in an emergency.
He said: “You never think it could happen to you, or your family, but I know that’s not true.
“And so I want to tell parents to make a note of the Missing People number, and to put in their children’s phone too.
“No matter what situation a child in themselves in, if they have this number there will be someone on the other end of the phone who can help them. “
Anyone who wants to sign up to the Thunderclap campaign should click here