A community campaign has seen overwhelming support as hundreds of people have pledged trees to the memory of grandfather Graham Roskell .
The 65-year-old’s disappearance in November had prompted a massive search involving thousands of people, before his body was discovered in woodland near Wetherby.
Now, as his family lay him to rest, they say they are deeply touched by the kindness of strangers who have so far donated more than 400 trees within weeks of setting up a scheme to create an 800-strong woodland in his memory.
“We have been desperately working towards achieving something positive from the tragedy,” said his youngest daughter Louise Rayner, a primary school teacher at Oatlands Junior School.
“As a child, he enjoyed playing in woodland near his home and also loved woodland walks as an adult, so we felt this to be a fitting tribute to him.”
Mr Roskell, a former policeman, disappeared on November 3 after walking out of Harrogate Hospital. His body was found in woodland near Wetherby 12 days later.
The Kirk Hammerton man, a father of three and grandfather of three more, had initially been admitted to hospital suffering from a sickness which made him confused and disorientated. It is believed to be this confusion which led to him leaving the hospital in an attempt to find his way home.
For days, his family, backed by thousands of well-wishers, searched fruitlessly. More than 5,000 people joined the Find Graham Roskell Facebook page.
“His 66th birthday would have been on January 10 and we are hopeful that we will have almost reached the 800 trees target by then,” said Mrs Rayner.
The woodland, at Appletreewick in the Yorkshire Dales, will be named ‘Roskell Wood’ and is due to be planted before March.
To dedicate a tree visit www.findgraham.co.uk or phone the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust on 01524 251002.