THE sister of Manic Street Preacher Richey Edwards has backed a major new project that will provide critical support to missing people and their families.

Mr Edwards, from Blackwood, vanished on January 1, 1995, aged 27 on the eve of a US tour and was officially presumed dead in November 2008.

His sister, Rachel Elias, is lending her support to a new Missing People charity project that will see £496,000 of Lottery cash spent to help families cope with their experiences over three years.

The project will deliver a new ‘After Missing’ support service for people who have returned home after being missing and their families via phone, text or email, a ‘TextReturn’ service so that a missing person is swiftly alerted by text and new guidance materials in Welsh.

It will be developed in partnership with Wales’ four police authorities and the Gwent Missing Hub, along with local voluntary and public sector organisations.

Rachel said: “I’m grateful to Missing People for the help and support they’ve given me and my family, and countless families up and down the country.

“I’m pleased to see this groundbreaking Big Lottery funded project being delivered for the people of Wales.”

John Rose, Wales director at the Big Lottery Fund said: “This multi-agency approach involving schools, fostering agencies and housing authorities will try to understand the complex and varied reasons behind individual cases of people who have gone missing and offer appropriate support.”

Missing People chief executive Jo Youle said: “This is a fantastic opportunity made possible by the Big Lottery Fund and allows us to develop and deliver tailored new services to the people of Wales. We look forward to working with other charities, police forces, local authorities, schools and other organisations to help support those who’ve gone missing and their loved ones.”