NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

'Heartbreak' of missing Grant Ritchie's family after cliffs disappearance

Grant Ritchie and family
Image caption Relatives spoke of their distress about not knowing what happened to Grant

The parents and girlfriend of a young man who disappeared near cliffs south of Aberdeen have spoken of their "heartbreak".

Grant Ritchie is feared to have fallen into the sea while walking with his girlfriend after a party in Cove in the early hours of Sunday morning.

He was last seen at about 01:00 near to the Cove Rangers football ground.

His parents said in a statement: "The most heartbreaking part is not knowing where Grant is or what has happened."

They said: "We would like to thank everyone who has come out to help us in the search for our son and express our gratitude for their support at this time.

"It is comforting to see that so many of Grant's friends and the wider community are willing to put in such a great effort into helping us find him and that is an indication of how well thought of he is.

"We are keen to continue searching for Grant but we would also ask that anyone who would like to help is careful whilst searching.

"Everyone just wants to know where he is and what has happened to him. The search and rescue team were fantastic and we are grateful for the work they have carried out, but we are not ready to give up the search."

'Back through door'

They added: "Grant is such a popular guy and is always laughing and joking with his friends and it's incredibly difficult not having him here with us.

"We would ask that anyone with any information to get in contact with Grampian Police."

Grant's girlfriend, Lisa Stephen, said: "The last week has been the most difficult of my life.

"I just wish he was here with me - we were always very happy when we were together and each day without him is more difficult than the last.

"I'm grateful for everyone who has joined the search and just wish we could find him or that he would walk back through the door."

She added: "It's difficult to contemplate how much changed the night he went missing - one minute we were laughing and joking together and the next he has disappeared.

"I just want to have him by my side again."

Grampian Police said Mr Ritchie was 5ft 7in tall, slim, and was wearing a light grey long-sleeved top and jeans.

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