I Won't Give Up Hope That One Day Richey Will Come Home - Mother's Moving Letter To Rock Star Son Who Mysteriously Vanished

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The last day Sherry Edwards saw her famous rock star son, they sat at her kitchen table and chatted over sandwiches and tea.

Manic Street Preacher Richey spoke enthusiastically of how he was off to record an album before a tour of the United States.

As he left, he kissed her and said goodbye before walking out of the family home in Blackwood, South Wales. She has never seen him since.

It is now five years since Richey disappeared, prompting one of rock music's enduring mysteries. Some say he committed suicide, others that he is living as a surfer, or as a hippy or a recluse hiding out on an island on the other side of the world.

Now, for the first time, Richey's mother has told how the family clings to the hope that Richey is alive and will one day walk through the door.

And, through the Sunday Mirror, she has written a moving letter [below] to her son in the hope he will see it and come home.

Among the few possessions found in Richey's abandoned car near the Severn Bridge were photographs of his family.

Painfully for the family, suicide is one of the theories to explain his disappearance. Sister Rachel contacted 27 coroners to eliminate any unidentified bodies.

Sherry said: "We have to face the possibility that he may be dead but until we know for certain what has happened, we will always stay hopeful that Richard is alive.

"Once you give up hope, you have reached the end.

"None of us really knows what happened to my son. He could be anywhere, doing anything but each day is as tortuous as the last.

"I will never forget the last time I spoke to Richard. He called me the night before he disappeared and we chatted on the phone. Almost in passing he said he didn't want to go to America but there was nothing that made me concerned. He sounded normal."

For five years, the Edwards have battled to piece together Richey's last known movements - hampered by a police bungle which failed to log Richey's disappearance on the Police National Computer.

Rachel, a 30-year-old care worker, said: "Richard was not placed on the PNC's missing persons file for over a year and we feel that is a disgrace.

"Vital information and sightings in those early days could have proved the key to my brother's whereabouts." It is known that Richey checked out of the Embassy Hotel in London's Bayswater at 7am on February 1, 1995 and returned to his flat in Cardiff.

A toll ticket shows that he didn't cross the Severn Bridge from England into Wales until 3pm that day, leaving eight hours unaccounted for.

His passport was left in his flat while CCTV cameras along the bridge have proved inconclusive for any sightings.

Since 1995, the Manic Street Preachers have gone on to become one of Britain's top rock bands - success that Richey, who is now 32, has never been able to share.

- Any information about Richey can be passed to the National Missing Persons Helpline on 0500 700700.


Dear Richard

"We all love and miss you so much and you are never out of our thoughts. I worry about you constantly, not knowing where you are and how you are keeping. I am scared that your decision to disappear like that has made you feel that you can never come back. We all want to tell you that's not true. We don't care where you went or why you did it.

"We need to let you know that we have never stopped wanting you to come back and that whatever has happened you'll always be safe with us.

"To see you walk through our door or even hear your voice again would make me the happiest person in the world.

"When you went away you took a huge part of me with you and I will never be able to reclaim that without you. Dad and Rachel love and miss you too - you are still part of our family, even though you are no longer here with us.

"I can never give up hope that you will return one day and, wherever you are, I hope the pain you carried inside has gone away. You are my precious son and I will never give up looking for you."

All my love as always, Mum

[Originally published: Sunday Mirror, 13 February 2000]

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