PARENTS of a missing girl from Greater Manchester have thanked a Scarborough man after she was found safe and well in the town.
The 16-year-old was reported missing from a respite centre at around 7.30pm on Saturday.
Unbeknown to her family, the girl, who has an autistic obsession with travel, had taken a train to Scarborough, which she had visited several times over the summer.
After arriving in Scarborough at around 11pm, she headed down to the seafront to go “running in the water”.
She stood in freezing waste-high water for several minutes.
Freezing cold and disorientated, she tried to get help at several pubs and bars along the seafront, before she was helped by Scarborough man David Marshall, fundraising director of St Catherine’s Hospice.
Mr Marshall was at the seafront before the start of the hospice’s annual Midnight Walk. He said: “She came up to me and was clearly in some distress.
“She explained that she had a learning difficulty and was in trouble. She handed me her phone, so I called her mother and told her that her daughter was safe.
“I then got her a hot drink and some food and sat and comforted her until the police arrived.”
Police offered to take her to hospital to receive treatment for hyperthermia, but the girl rejected the offer.
Officers took her to the police station, where she received dry clothing, before being taken back to the respite unit, where she has since made a full recovery.
Her mother has praised Mr Marshall for his quick thinking, which she believes has “probably helped to save her life”.
She said: “I was unbelievably relieved when I got the call from David. He was calm and instilled confidence in her, and helped prevent what could have been a tragedy.”
However, Mr Marshall believes he did nothing special. “As a father myself, I just wanted to help the girl out.
“You can’t imagine the worry her parents went through.
“I was pleased to help but it was simply a case of being in the right place at the right time.”