Stoke & Staffordshire

Runner John Lawton's body found on mountain in Greece

John Lawton and wife Lynda, pic courtesy of trailproject.gr
Image caption Runner John Lawton went missing during an off-road race in Greece on 8 April

The body of a runner from Cheshire who went missing during an off-road race in southern Greece in April has been found on a mountainside.

John Lawton, from Alsager, disappeared while competing in the 35km (21m) Taygetos Challenge near Kalamata.

The Greek volunteer rescue organisation GAIA Alert confirmed Mr Lawton's body had been identified.

His wife of 43 years, Lynda, said he was a "very caring man" and an "amazing Dad to Steve and Sara".

Mrs Lawton and the couple's son flew out to Greece on Wednesday.

'Incredibly difficult'

In a statement, she said her husband would always be the love of her life.

Mrs Lawton added: "I prayed that by some miracle he would be found alive, but sadly that was not to be. I am grateful that I will at least be able to bring him home."

The coroner had been notified and Mr Lawton's body had been moved to Kalamata Hospital for a post-mortem examination, GAIA Alert said.

Peter Rowley, volunteer for the organisation, which led the search, said: "He was found quite a distance away from checkpoint four on the race route, around four hours steady climb up a gorge."

Mrs Lawton said she wanted to thank everyone involved in the search for her husband in the past four months.

She added: "It has been an incredibly difficult time for the family and we will be forever grateful to those that have supported us in so many ways."

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