Candle-lit vigil on Portreath for missing paramedic Del
FRIENDS, family and colleagues held a moving candlelit vigil amid growing concerns for the safety of a "popular and well-loved" paramedic who has been missing for two weeks.
More than 150 people wrote personal messages to Derek 'Del' Wilton on Portreath beach on Friday night as a work colleague sang the haunting Bring Him Home from the musical Les Misérables.
The Post-it note messages were put into two bottles, blessed by the Reverend Peter Fellows and sent out to sea.
The paramedics' prayer was read by Mr Fellows before three friends spoke about the man everyone loved and most feared was not coming home.
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Mr Wilton's wife, Noelle, said: "The number of people there was just amazing.
"I'm in a state of limbo at the moment.
"I'm trying to remain positive but I just do not know."
Mr Wilton's friend of 13 years, John Veall, said Mrs Wilton has "drawn comfort and strength" from the support she has had since her husband disappeared.
"Although he is gone there is a lot of him in my heart," said Mr Veall.
"And all those people would not have turned up if there was not a piece of him in their hearts. If we still have a bit of 'Del' in our hearts then obviously we must still be with him in his."
Mr Veall, who sent a personal message for his friend on the night, said Mr Wilton "really was a popular and well-loved person", well known in the motorcycling and mountain biking community and a keen outdoor sports enthusiast.
As well as his job as a paramedic for the South West Ambulance Service Trust, Mr Wilton has helped raise thousands of pounds for charities including Marie Curie Cancer Care, Macmillan Cancer Support, the Cornwall Blind Association and the Front Line Emergency Equipment Trust.
He worked with the former Cornwall Mine Rescue Organisation and as a volunteer with Cornwall Freewheelers motorbike medical courier service.
According to Mr Veall, 'Del' was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. "His family believe it had some bearing on why he is missing," he said. Mr Wilton was last seen at 9.30am on August 15.
An extensive search was carried out by police and coastguards, many of whom were Mr Wilton's colleagues, after his silver Volvo estate car was found at Hell's Mouth the following day.
Born in Blackwater, the 46-year-old has lived in Illogan for the past 14 years. His brother, sister and parents live locally.
Anyone with information should ring the police on 101.