Mum’s plea after only son disappears

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The desperate family of a man who mysteriously disappeared have appealed for help from people across the West Highlands.

Andrew Gardiner, aged 47, has not been seen since around 11am on September 7, 2020, and his mum says they are desperate for fresh information on his whereabouts.

As a timber driver, Andrew was a frequent visitor to the Fort William area, particularly Corpach, and they now wonder if he has returned to this area.

On the day he went missing, Andrew parked his lorry up at the 3,500-acre Heathland Forest off the A706 in South Lanarkshire where he was due to make a collection of wood.

Dashcam footage retrieved from his abandoned lorry captured him throwing away his mobile phone and then walking off into the woods.

Despite extensive police searches of that area using drones and sniffer dogs, no trace has ever been found and he has not used his bank account or email address since.

Missing since September 2020 – Andrew Gardiner.

With the months now passing, Andrew’s family approached The Oban Times and Lochaber Times in the hope someone may know something, or that Andrew might see their appeal.

His family includes mum Geraldine Grave, aged 78; step-father Hedley, aged 86; Andrew’s father Ian, and devastated wife Tanya and their daughter Caitlin, aged 18.

Geraldine said Andrew had given no indication anything was wrong either personally or at work, although things may have got on top of him.

While his role involved long hours travelling and took him away for days and nights at a time, he was happy doing it, she said.

‘We can’t work out what’s happened,’ said Geraldine. ‘He loved his job and the Highlands. He went to Lanarkshire to collect wood and walked away – that’s all we know.’

Andrew Gardiner

He was very familiar with the Fort William area, resting overnight locally and on his travels he enjoyed taking photographs of wildlife and viewpoints around places such as Loch Eil and Glenfinnan.

Geraldine said: ‘We wonder if he’s gone back to the Fort William area because he loved it so much. If anyone knows him please ask him to ring his mother, and if anybody knows about his whereabouts, please let the police know.

‘He is not in trouble we just need to know he’s OK.’

Geraldine last saw her only son when he and his family visited at the end of August, but again he gave no outward sign anything was troubling him.

‘He was such a happy soul and it is a complete and utter mystery,’ said Geraldine, who lives at Gatehouse of Fleet in Dumfries and Galloway.

‘This is what we can’t understand. Everything seemed normal and we can’t come up with anything we can pinpoint.’

His welfare remains on his family’s mind day and night and keeps Geraldine awake as he is her only son, although she also has a step-son who was also close to Andrew.

Of his wife and daughter, Geraldine said: ‘They are dreadfully worried and just want him back.’

Andrew, from Castle Douglas, may now have long curly hair.

He is around 6ft 2 tall and when reported missing, he was wearing a navy blue polo shirt, black jeans and dark-coloured work boots.

Police Scotland said Andrew was last seen in the Lanarkshire area and remains a missing person.

Anyone with information should contact police on 101, quoting incident 2306 of September 10.