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Dr Shona Lidgey wife of Downham Market GP David Lidgey who vanished 11 years ago believes he is 'still alive' and wishes he is 'safe and well'

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A GP has spoken about her emotional journey after her husband vanished 11 years ago after leaving a handwritten note that said he was "going for a walk".

Dr Shona Lidgey, who works at the Howdale Surgery in Downham was with husband Dr David Lidgey for 18 years and they shared three children together; Ruth, Tom and Arthur.

The pair met at a GP training course in 1993 where Shona sent David a letter and he called her back to express his interest.

Dr Shona and David Lidgey Credit Ian Burt (57511921)
Dr Shona and David Lidgey Credit Ian Burt (57511921)

Shona said: "I looked at him and thought 'I like that man', so I sent a letter to his accommodation."

Shona described David as a "devoted father who was very involved with his children".

The family was heartbroken when, after a string of depressive episodes David disappeared from the family home in Norfolk taking nothing but his driving licence and a bank card.

Shona had received a text message from him that morning that told her he wouldn't be going into work that day.

The GP had left behind his passport, expensive watches and other personal effects.

Shona said: "It was all spread out on the floor, like some kind of gesture."

His three children were eight, 15 and 15-years-old when he left and have had "mixed emotions" regarding their father's absence. Shona's parents, who live in Lynn came to help at the time, so the household could continue to function as normally as possible following the bizarre and tragic occurrence.

Dr Shona Lidgey, a Downham GP, has expressed a desire to know her missing husband is "well and safe" Credit Ian Burt (57511918)
Dr Shona Lidgey, a Downham GP, has expressed a desire to know her missing husband is "well and safe" Credit Ian Burt (57511918)

Police informed that there had been sightings of David in Leicester, a city that he had personal ties to due to his love for the Leicester Tigers rugby club. The family would often take trips there for his birthday.

When hearing of a potential sighting Shona made her way to the city, putting up posters, leaving clothes and mobile phones at homeless shelters and speaking to people in the park.

She has done countless radio and newspaper interviews, as she knows that he is "still alive".

In 2018, seven years after David's disappearance, a voice recorded text message was left on the house phone at the Lidgey residence that said "I'm on my way home been delayed in Australia, have a newspaper for me from D."

Shona said she tried to call the number back, but felt "angry" after seven years of silence.

David often spoke of moving to Australia and had even confided to a colleague of his plans.

Shona told the Lynn News: "We had a lovely family life and David thrived in his role as father, we had moved to Norfolk from London where he was very well-liked by his patients. After experiencing assaults, we decided to move and start a new life where we could afford a better family home for the five of us. I had a brilliant life in London and great friends, but I have found that I have enjoyed my time here just as much.

"David didn't get on here and struggled to find work, and talked of moving to Australia. He had even confided in a workmate about his plans to go there. His GP appraiser raised concerns about his mental health, and his behaviour had become more erratic."

David was prone to depressive episodes and in the months prior to his disappearance left the house several times and was brought back by the police. His car had been traced to a hotel and after returning back home he apologised to his wife.

Shona said: "He had depressive moments throughout our marriage, but they seemed manageable. Sometimes it was hard to deal with and yes we had arguments, on the day he left we had argued about something trivial and sometimes I've thought if I'd done or said something different there might have been an alternative outcome."

Despite the tragedy of the situation, the family have taken positive steps to move on and have engaged with therapy. They are "determined to be happy" even though they still have moments of guilt and grief.

The Lidgeys think of David on his birthday and speak of him when they get together, they understand that they "can't go back" but still hold a care for him in their hearts.

The Howdale GP said: "In hindsight, we really should have taken a break but we just carried on going to work and school, we thought he would come back at any point. Dealing with a grief when no-one has died has been hard - what do you do? The children have responded with mixed emotions and are at different stages of their journey. Obviously there's something missing. Personally if I could speak to him now I would want to know if he is ok. You can't go back, but we still love him as David and hope that he is safe and well, maybe he thought he could escape his demons.

"We know we wouldn't him back in our home as he has really hurt us, but we do have love for him and want to know that he has found peace as he was a very troubled person in the end. We would rather know what has happened to him.

Shona now has a new partner that she does not live with, but has a good relationship with her three children. She is a well respected doctor in the Downham community and is popular amongst her patients.

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