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New help for families of missing

17 July 08 12:38 GMT

The father of missing Liverpool student Steven Cook is helping to launch a new group aiming to help the families of those who go missing overseas.

Norman Cook, 64, of Sandbach, Cheshire, has become a trustee of the Missing Abroad Fund, almost three years since his son disappeared in Malia, Crete.

Steven Cook was 20 when he went missing on the first night of his holiday with friends in the Greek resort.

The Cook family are continuing to publicise the search for him.

There have been a few possible sightings of Mr Cook, who was a student at Liverpool John Moore's University, since he disappeared.

But Greek police have failed to find any concrete leads in their investigation into why he went missing.

The Missing Abroad group will help other families who go through the trauma of losing a loved one overseas.

Steven Cook, an avid Liverpool FC fan, was reported missing by his friends on 1 September 2005.

His father, a retired engineering executive, has not celebrated any of his birthdays since his youngest son went missing.

"It is a terrible, terrible situation to be in - it consumes your whole life," he said.

As well as several visits to Crete to look for him, the Cook family have used the internet, including social networking sites such as Facebook, to further the search for information.

"You find that very quickly your house becomes a planning room - we had maps of Crete and Greece all over our dining room," Mr Cook said.

"You look at what the place is about, what the culture of the people is, what could have happened.

"That becomes the main focus of what you have to do. But all that comes at an emotional cost and a financial cost.

"That's what the Missing Abroad Fund is about. It's giving that support - both the knowledge that we have gained and financial assistance."

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