THE family of missing Kirkbymoorside man Gordon Simm held a special celebration of his life at the weekend to mark the first anniversary of his disappearance.

Mr Simm, a retired engineer, went missing in July last year while walking in the Rio Chillar, near the Costa del Sol.

Despite extensive searches by the Spanish authorities and Gordon’s friends, no signs of him have been found.

His wife, Wendy, said the family felt they needed to do something to celebrate Gordon’s life, inviting people to join them at the Methodist rooms in Kirkbymoorside on Saturday, just one day before a full year passed since he went missing.

“Friends and family came from across the country and it was a happy occasion with lots of memories and laughter,” Mrs Simm said.

“The rooms were full, with many people outside and they all said what a lovely day it had been and how fitting it was for Gordon.”

Mrs Simm said she now felt a little more at peace.

“I have done something for Gordon. I needed to do this and hopefully it will help give me some closure,” she said.

“We celebrated all aspects of his life and I feel we have now done the best we can for Gordon and people have had the opportunity to pay their respects to him.”

Gordon was a renowned wildlife photographer and the celebration included a display of his work as well as awards he won for running and folk singing.

A collection in aid of the RSPB, of which Gordon was a lifetime member, and the Yorkshire Air Ambulance raised £340.

Mrs Simm has sent a memorial plaque to be placed near the track where Gordon went missing and is also planning to place a plaque in Kirkbymoorside.

“Gordon lived and worked in Kirkbymoorside so it would be nice to have something in the town,” she said.

Mrs Simm said she thanks everyone who came to the celebration and for the comments about Gordon.

“Although I have come to terms with the fact that he is not coming back, I continue to hope of finding out what happened to Gordon,” she said.

“This is the worst sort of grief to deal with as it is so prolonged. But at the moment I feel really uplifted and although I have to continue to learn how to cope, I have lots of happy memories to comfort me.”