A SPECIAL service in memory of missing people throughout the North of England will be held in York tonight.

Peter Lawrence, the father of missing York chef Claudia Lawrence, will be among those attending the carol service, along with families and friends of missing people from across the county.

The chief executive of charity Missing People, Jo Youle, and the charity’s honorary treasurer Ben Houghton will also be at the service, at St Chad’s Church in Knavesmire.

Mr Lawrence said: “I am very pleased that Missing People’s Yorkshire volunteers have helped me in putting on this carol service. Christmas is a difficult time for all those who find themselves with relatives missing and being together with support from the public, family and friends is much appreciated.”

Claudia, who worked as a chef at the University of York, has been missing since March 2009, and her friend Suzy Cooper will also be at the service with Mr Lawrence and his friend Martin Dales.

This year the charity has released an online video which features Mr Lawrence and other relatives of people who have disappeared speaking about the work of the charity.

Jo Youle said: “We know that Christmas is a particularly hard time for people searching for their loved ones. The limbo of having someone missing, not knowing whether they are safe, is even harder at a time when families are coming together to celebrate the festive season. It’s great that we are able to hold these carol services, with the help of so many dedicated volunteers and staff across the UK, to show people that they are not alone and that we are here for them for as long as it takes.”

The service will be taken by Canon Simon Stanley and a reflection will be given by the Bishop of Beverley, the Rt Rev Glyn Webster. The Rock Choir of York and The Vale of York Voices will provide music along with Bob Batchelor, organist of St.Chad’s.

The Missing People Northern Carol Service starts at 7.30pm and admission is free. A collection will be held for Missing People.