Vigil to be held outside home of missing Halifax man Martin Rhodes

Martin Rhodes
Martin Rhodes

A vigil will be held in Halifax on Friday by friends and neighbours of missing walker Martin Rhodes.

Mr Rhodes, 46, who lived on Dickens Street in Highroad Well, was last seen around 8.30am on Wednesday, May 1 in Kinlochewe, in north west Scotland, where he was on a walking holiday.

He was reported missing that evening when he did not return from a walk in the area.

Despite extensive searches by specialist police officers, mountain rescue volunteers from the Dundonnell, Torridon and RAF teams, the Search Rescue Dogs Association and the HM Coastguard helicopter, no trace of Martin has been found.

Family, friends and neighbours are concerned for his whereabouts and are looking after his beloved pet cat and dog.

His close friend Mark Metcalf said: "I've known him for about four years. We'd go out drinking, go out distributing leaflets together.

"He was a hard-worker, very friendly to people. He was a socialist and tried to put that into practice in his own life in the way he was with people.

"He loved animals and his dog Rex. He liked going cycling and taking Rex for long walks.

"He was unemployed for a while but he worked hard to get his finances back on track.

"He was going to Morocco in September. There's around 70 mountains or hills in Scotland and he'd walked about half of them.

"Over the next two or three years he intended to do the rest of them.

"He was a big football fan and supported Leeds United for his sins. When I last saw we talked about football, as we often did.

"He was just a decent sort, and he deserves to be remembered.

"Martin would have been very respectful of the people that have given up their time up there to go out in poor conditions and look for him.

"It'd be great if we can raise a bit of money for them and go up and thank them in person, and pay for a little memento of Martin up there."

On Friday at 6pm, friends and neighbours will gather outside Martin's home to lay flowers and candles, and there will also be tribute speeches and songs.

At the gathering, a collection will be taken and the money will be sent to the mountain rescue teams that have looked for Martin under atrocious conditions; 44 people were out all day on Sunday looking for Martin.

The Halifax Labour Party, of which Martin was an active member, will be holding a fundraising event, after which the money raised will be sent to the mountain rescue teams.

Halifax MP Holly Lynch (Lab) said: “I was shocked and saddened to hear that Martin has gone missing whilst on a walking holiday in Scotland, with Mountain Rescue teams unable to locate him.

"I wholeheartedly thank all those involved in the search, in what we know have been very challenging conditions. Martin is a much loved friend to many local members of the Labour Party, and has played a valued and active role in recent elections, as well as being Secretary of the Warley Branch of the party.

"My thoughts are with his family and friends, and those still involved in the search for Martin as we all wait for news.”

If you would like to attend the vigil, or for more details, call 07392 852561.

Police Scotland are still appealing for information which could help trace Mr Rhodes.

It is not known what he was wearing but he is known to have been carrying a black rucksack.

Inspector Jamie Wilson said: "We are growing increasingly concerned about Martin's wellbeing due to the passage of time since he was last seen..

"We would urge anyone with information which could help locate him to come forward as soon as possible.

"Martin is an experienced hillwalker and is familiar with the area.

"We working to establish what route he may have taken and so would urge anyone who believes they have seen him at any time since 8.30am on Wednesday to come forward.

"Anyone with information can contact police by calling 101, quoting incident 4582 of May 1."