Fears for missing Doncaster ex-miner after no contact for five weeks

Friends of former Askern Colliery miner Mel Hepworth are concerned that he has gone missing in South East Asia
Friends of former Askern Colliery miner Mel Hepworth are concerned that he has gone missing in South East Asia

Fears are growing for a former Doncaster miner who has gone missing after taking up a teaching post in South East Asia.

Friends of Mel Hepworth say it is out of character for him not to be in daily contact with them and they have not heard from him for weeks.

Former partner and close friend Leanne Tracy Philips said: “I’m really worried about him, and I’m hoping he’s alive. He was going to fly out to Burma on July 3 but we’ve not heard anything from him. My message to him is that we’re really, really worried. If you’re alive, I hope you get in touch and come home.”

Leanne was the last person to hear from Mel on June 27.

Mel, aged 53, turned to teaching after the decline of the mining industry, having worked at Askern Colliery, and he was due to start another job in Burma.

Mr Hepworth has not updated his Facebook page which is dedicated to the miners’ strike and has 100,000 followers.

Friend and former National Union of Mineworkers vice president Ken Capstick, and Ken’s son Graham, are among those concerned.

for his safety.

Graham said: “Has he been scammed, has he been in an accident, or worse? And that’s the one that we don’t want, obviously.”

Ken said: “He’s always in touch with people no matter where he is in the world and there’s nothing unusual about Mel going off into the wild blue yonder, but he maintains contact so for him to go missing for five weeks is very worrying for me and his friends.”

A spoksman for the Foreign Office said if his friends want to get in touch they will try to offer support.