‘Keep the faith’ - Family of missing windsurfer ask people to remain vigilant

PUBLISHED: 14:41 16 November 2020 | UPDATED: 15:44 16 November 2020

A search for missing windsurfer Chris Bamfield has been called off Picture: Chris Bishop/Norfolk Constabulary

A search for missing windsurfer Chris Bamfield has been called off Picture: Chris Bishop/Norfolk Constabulary

Chris Bishop/Norfolk Constabulary

The family of a missing windsurfer have asked people to remain vigilant as a major search to find him continues.

Chris Bamfield, 65, was  last seen at Hunstanton beach on Saturday, November 14. Picture: Norfolk ConstabularyChris Bamfield, 65, was last seen at Hunstanton beach on Saturday, November 14. Picture: Norfolk Constabulary

Chris Bamfield, 65, from Middleton in King’s Lynn has been named as the windsurfer reported missing at Hunstanton beach on Saturday, November 14.

The recently-retired executive director at west Norfolk council was last seen just before 2pm on Saturday after he went into the water and failed to return home from a windsurfing trip.

Mr Bamfield’s family have expressed their gratitude to those involved in the efforts to find him.

A statement said: “We would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to all the emergency services, volunteers, colleagues and local windsurfing and sailing organisations for all of the herculean effort they have put into helping us find Chris and for continuing to keep him in their thoughts.

The search continues for a missing surfer at Hunstanton. Picture: Chris BishopThe search continues for a missing surfer at Hunstanton. Picture: Chris Bishop

“There’s a reason we have built our lives in Norfolk and it’s because of people like you all that we continue to call this home.

“He spent his career with King’s Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council dedicated to making it the jewel in the crown he believes it should be.

“He has been windsurfing for 40 years, having recently reignited his passion and being welcomed back by the local community, and we all know how much he loves the sport.

“Chris is a fighter and even at the age of 65, he’s stronger than most of us. Because of that, we ask you all to remain vigilant.

The search continues for a missing surfer at Hunstanton.  Picture: Chris BishopThe search continues for a missing surfer at Hunstanton. Picture: Chris Bishop

“He is always the personification of positivity, and we know that at times like these he would want us all to echo the words of one of his favourite bands. ‘Keep the faith’ – Bon Jovi.”

Lorraine Gore, chief executive at west Norfolk council, said staff are “struggling” to come to terms with the news.

She said: “We are in great shock this morning with the announcement that the windsurfer who went missing off the Hunstanton Coast on Saturday was our own, recently-retired, executive director Chris Bamfield.

“We know the emergency services are doing everything they can to find him.

Volunteers joined the search for a missing surfer at Hunstanton.  Picture: Chris BishopVolunteers joined the search for a missing surfer at Hunstanton. Picture: Chris Bishop

“Our hearts go out to his wife Vanessa and his children Ashton and Jamie at this dreadful and difficult time.

“Chris, who retired this year to spend more time with his family, had worked at the council for 29 years.

“While at the council he was popular and well-liked with many regarding him not only as a work colleague but as a friend.

“Chris is well known in the area for making things happen, not least of which the cinema at the Corn Exchange, the transformation of the town hall complex to incorporate Stories of Lynn, and the refurbishment of both market places in King’s Lynn.”

The search continued today and a Coastguard fixed wing aircraft, a Coastguard helicopter from Humberside and the Cromer lifeboat was launched at about 9.55am this morning.

A spokesperson for HM Coastguard said searches are ongoing this afternoon using a search and rescue helicopter from Humberside, the Coastguard fixed wing aircraft and the RNLI lifeboat from Cromer.

They added: “A windsurfing board was located this morning by the search and rescue helicopter in waters off the north Norfolk Coast.

“It has yet to be confirmed as belonging to the missing man.”

The mayor of Hunstanton Tony Bishopp and the town council has sent out their thoughts to Mr Bamfield’s family and have thanked the emergency services and volunteers for their efforts.

A statement said: “We are rightly proud of all those that give of their time in these difficult situations often at great risk to their own safety.

“Our thoughts are with the family and friends and we pray for a positive outcome.”

Mr Bamfield is described as a white male, 5ft 8 in height, with distinctive long, light blonde hair. He is likely to have been wearing a bright orange helmet while windsurfing.

Anyone with information not already passed to police, is asked to contact Norfolk Constabulary on 101, quoting call number 313 of November 14.


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