RELATIVES of a man whose body was found four days after he went missing have praised South Yorkshire Police helicopter as invaluable in the search – and says it may have saved them months of heartache.
They spoke out after 71-year-old Baden Powell’s body was found in a field near Ulley Reservoir, Rotherham, after he vanished from a hospital ward.
The retired steelworker, from Tinsley, Sheffield, had been admitted to Rotherham Hospital after collapsing in a pub earlier in the day but walked out without being seen by staff.
His body was spotted by the South Yorkshire police helicopter when it joined in a huge search operation mounted following his disappearance.
The county’s police force faces losing its own dedicated helicopter as part of Government plans to form a National Police Air Service.
Under the plan, South Yorkshire would be served by helicopters based in neighbouring counties instead of Sheffield.
Baden’s niece Tracy Cauldwell, 45, said: “Those in authority making decisions about the helicopter need to know how invaluable it is to local people.
“Because of where Baden’s body was found it could have lain undiscovered for weeks, it was in a remote area.
“We are so grateful to South Yorkshire Police for all they have done to help us cope with this.”
His sister-in-law, Marie Powell, 68, said Baden spent eight years living in Australia after he was made redundant in the late 60s. He went missing on the day his beloved brother, Roger, would have been 65.
A funeral service is to be held at Hutcliffe Wood Crematorium, Sheffield, at 1pm on Friday.
Baden’s family have urged all his friends to attend.
Donations will be collected for the RSPCA.