Ten years ago today, Nicki Durbin reported her 19 year old son Luke missing. Luke failed to return home after a night out in Ipswich, Suffolk. After spending the evening in a nightclub he was last seen on CCTV in the early hours of the morning. He has not been heard from since. Since then, his mother Nicki has worked tirelessly to keep the search for Luke in the public eye, desperately waiting for information. Here she writes an open letter Luke.
I cannot believe that 10 years on I am sitting down penning you another letter that I know you may never read...
Ten years! Ten years that you walked out the door. I can picture the scene so vividly as if it was yesterday; you, me and Alicia all in good spirits, a beautiful sunny evening, you so excited about your night out with your friends. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that as you walked out the door laughing it would be the last time we ever saw you.
So much has happened since you've been gone. So much sadness and fortunately friends and family have still managed to bring joy into my life, sometimes at the bleakest of times. I'd like to sit down with you and Alicia and talk and talk until we're all too tired to talk anymore. It seems the tiniest request for a mother to want to spend time with both her children but so unachievable for us.
I think of you so much Luke. I wonder what you would be doing if you were here. Several of your friends are settled down with children. I wonder if you'd be a Dad or married. Would you have travelled as you'd planned? Would you have got into the music industry as you so desperately wanted? Questions I may never find the answers to.
You have been missed at so many celebrations. There's always an empty space that should be filled by you. Some anniversaries have been more difficult than others; Alicia's 19th was one of the hardest, actually not so much her birthday but her 19th year. I was terrified I would lose her as I lost you at 19.
Then Alicia's 20th, my youngest child may now be older than my eldest child. Your 21st, that day was heart-breaking. You should have been with us, with your friends celebrating. Don't get me wrong, all of your birthdays are very difficult to get through but it's the big ones that have hit me harder. Your 30th is at the end of the year and the thought of it tears at my heart. I cannot imagine you at 30. I don't know what you'd like to do for your birthday...
I moved house. For the first few years after you went missing I couldn't bring myself to even consider it in case you came home and couldn't find me. Despite everyone reasoning with me that you're a clever young man and you'd find me quite easily, I just felt like I'd be leaving you and the memories of bringing you and Alicia up in our home. It's OK though. In fact it's proved exactly what I thought deep down, the memories are so deeply embedded in my mind and heart it doesn't matter where I go, you'll always be with me.
When you were a baby, as all mothers do, I would count how old you were in days, and then I counted in weeks, months and then finally years. I felt when you went missing it went full circle, I would count how many days you'd been gone, then weeks, then months and years, now it's a decade.
Time has not changed anything. The pain of losing you is always there. It has become my constant companion. You and Alicia have and always will be my life. I will never stop searching for you Luke, it's the only thing left I can do for you.
If by some slim chance you are reading this Luke, please get in touch with me. I don't care what has happened. I don't care if you never want to tell me where you've been or what you've been doing. A phone call or email from you would completely change my world.
With love always my Darling
Nicki Durbin is a member of the Missing People Choir, which is made up of family members of missing loved ones and is run by the charity Missing People and Director James Hawkins. On 20th May, the Choir will release a single, "I Hope". Joined by stars including Rick Astley, Chesney Hawkes and Lesley Garrett, the song, which has been made possible thanks to the charity's supporters Royal Mail, aims to raise funds to support the 140,000 children who go missing every year. I Hope is available on iTunes to preorder now.