'Missing' ex-Doncaster miner found safe and well in the Far East

Mel Hepworth
Mel Hepworth

A former Doncaster miner has been traced safe and well after fears he had gone missing.

Friends of Mel Hepworth launched a major campaign to trace him after not hearing from him for weeks after he set off for a teaching job in Mayanmar, formerly Burma.

They were concerned because it was out of character for him not to be in daily contact with his friends back in England, after going out to work in the far east.

But now close friend Leanne Tracy Philips has concerned that the former Askern Colliery miner has been in touch to say he is safe an well.

Mel, aged 53, turned to teaching after the decline of the mining industry, having worked at Askern Colliery.

Friend and former National Union of Mineworkers vice president Ken Capstick, and Ken's son Graham, were among those concerned for his safety and publicly appealed for him to get in touch.

Leanne said she had been relieved to hear from Mel, as were many other concerned friends.

She said: "He's alive and well and he's in Burma.

"I told him we were really worried because we had not heard from him, and he thanked us for worrying about him and thanks for the concern.

"It was great to hear from him and he has started his new job now. He is settled and I don't think he will be in back in South Yorkshire any time soon.

"He saw the stories, including the one in the Doncaster Free Press. We're really grateful to the Free Press and everyone who helped."

Mel put on his Facebook page: "I am here in Myanmar (Burma) and everything is well. Thanks for your concern everyone."