£20k reward to find missing Scot Alison Macdonald

Alison Macdonald who went missing from a village in Kashmir in 1981. Picture: Contributed

Alison Macdonald who went missing from a village in Kashmir in 1981. Picture: Contributed

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A NEW campaign offering a £20,000 reward has been launched to solve the mysterious disappearance of a Scottish student in the Himalayas more than three decades ago.

Her family believe that Alison Macdonald, from the Isle of Lewis, is still alive after going missing 34 years ago.

We miss her every day. At times it is like a knife in the heart - when you see her friends getting married and having babies and them growing up

Kenny Macdonald

Alison was just 19 when she vanished while on holiday with a friend.

Alison and her friend Liz Merry, who later became a GP in Scotland, reached the village of Sonamarg, 9,000ft up in the Himalayas.

While Liz went off on a two-day trip to see the Kolahoi glacier, Alison stayed behind.

On August 17, 1981, she went for a walk, and was last seen buying apples from a trader. Her clothes and rucksack were found in her room, and Alison disappearance was relayed to her family six days later.

Alison’s family have spent thousands of pounds on trying to unearth clues to her disappearance.

Her father Kenny, now in his 80s, and wife Reta have made 17 trips to the region, which is embroiled in a territorial dispute between India and Pakistan.

Alison was a student at the University of Aberdeen when she disappeared.

Her father, a retired Free Church of Scotland minister, has said he still believed he would see his daughter before his failing eyesight left him blind.

Mr MacDonald believes she was kidnapped.

Now a Facebook campaign has already had more than 4,700 likes. The website letsfindalison.com has also been gathered support.

A poster offering the reward has also been reproduced in other languages.

A message posted on the Facebook site said Mr and Mrs Macdonald are “very humbled that everybody is showing an interest in the campaign to find Alison.”

“They would like to thank each and everyone of you for the comments and kind words expressed. They can’t quite believe how the power of social media is bringing people together and how many people are seeing the appeal. They are urging everyone to keep sharing the appeal, as someone, somewhere knows just that wee bit of info about Alison’s disappearance which could bring her home. Thank you all once again.”

Previously Mr Macdonald said: ”We miss her every day. At times it is like a knife in the heart - when you see her friends getting married and having babies and them growing up.

“But Alison is always here. She is still a part of or lives and one day she will walk through our door again.”

Kashmiri police closed the case after failing to find any clues as to what happened to her.

Her disappearance made headlines again in 2007 when the inquiry was reopened after new evidence emerged, thought to be linked to the case.

A tape of a prominent Kashmiri rebel appeared to feature him speaking English with a Scottish accent, prompting unproven suggestions that he may have been taught by Alison.

Kashmir has been disputed by India and Pakistan since the partition of the subcontinent in 1947.

Mr Macdonald, who lives in Golspie, Sutherland, is registered blind and suffers from MS.

A former customs officer in Stornoway, Mr Macdonald has never given up the hope that Alison may still be alive. He maintains that there is no evidence she is dead.

He has visited Kashmir and Pakistan at least 17 times, trying to establish exactly what happened to his daughter.

In that time, his hopes have been raised and dashed on several occasions, and he once even hired notorious bounty hunters in an effort to locate Alison.

Theories about her disappearance have included that she was kidnapped, was murdered or simply suffered an accident.

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