ON 26 March, a day when hundreds of thousands of people are marching on the streets of London against the cuts, Bristol NUJ is also assisting the student-led march for 19-year-old missing Bath Spa University student James Bubear, taking place in Bath at 3 p.m.
With more than 15,000 followers on Facebook and Twitter, student organisers Anna-Marie Young and Siegfried Baber are expecting hundreds of people, including James’s family from Wales, to walk a route which retraces his last steps, taken on 13 March 2011.
The aim is to try and nudge the memories of the public and appeal for more information.
The students, who study creative writing and journalism, appealed to Bristol NUJ for help on 22 March and we have been encouraging them in their efforts to raise media interest in James’s plight.
The march has been reported in the Bath Chronicle, the Western Daily Press, the Brecon and Radnor Express, the County Times, and hundreds of smaller papers across Britain, from the North Wales Chronicle to the Border Counties Advertizer.
Today and tomorrow it will be reported in the national newspaper of Wales, the Western Mail, to follow up their appeal for help on 20 March.
Bristol’s online newspaper Bristol 24-7 has published an open letter from fellow student Siegfried Baber asking for support for today’s march, and James’s friend Lucy Jones has created a video which has been watched by over 700 people on YouTube. Students have created T-shirts and printed thousands of leaflets and flyers, some donated by local printers and others by Powys County Council, and a downloadable poster, which have been distributed across the West Country.
Students from other universities have sent messages of support and Bath University SU provides a link from its website to James’s page at the Avon and Somerset Constabulary website. The story of James is published this week in the University of the West of England’s student newspaper, Western Eye, who write:
“Dear Help Find James Bubear,
WesternEye has included an article based on information on here and other articles about James’ disappearance. This issue is currently at the printers and will be available across UWE Bristol campuses and associated transport from Monday morning onwardsWe hope that this helps in some small way and that he is found safe and well in the near future.
Best of luck, WesternEye Editorial Team”
Supporters of the James campaign were devastated to hear the sad news that the body of 22-year-old Sian O’Callaghan, whose disappearance had been widely publicised, was found on Thursday 24 March.
Miranda Sim wrote on Facebook on Wednesday 23 March: “There is a candlelight vigil for Sian O’Callaghan tonight, and those who cannot attend are lighting candles at home. I have lit one for Sian and also one for James and an extra one for all those missing we don’t hear about. Others on Sian’s page are also lighting candles for James. Hoping for good news and their safe returns.”
Amber Britton echoed the statements of many on Facebook when she wrote earlier today: “Hopefully the march will raise some more awareness. I find it saddening that James’ story has not been as publicised as Sian’s: all missing people should be treated the same. I just hope he is found safe and well and there is no sad ending. Love to all his family and friends xxx”
James’s family have expressed their appreciation for the support of the students and people of Bath, Bristol and Swindon.