Discovery of man’s body in Sible Hedingham gives closure to family of Essex 82-year-old Gordon Wilson

Gordon Wilson with family (Left to right) Kirsty, Gillian, Scott, Lesley and Mhairi

Gordon Wilson with family (Left to right) Kirsty, Gillian, Scott, Lesley and Mhairi - Credit: Archant

The family of Leaden Roding 82-year-old Gordon Wilson say they now have closure after the discovery of a man’s body in a wooded area in Sible Hedingham at the weekend.

Mr Wilson, who suffered from vascular dementia, had been missing for nearly three months following his disappearance from his home on Sunday, October 25.

The body of the man, which has not yet been formally identified, was found by a member of the public at around 1.45pm on Saturday (January 23) and the death is not being treated as suspicious.

Mr Wilson’s daughters, Lesley Rankin, 54, and Gillian Wilson, 49, have remained committed throughout in the search for their dad.

Mrs Wilson said: “We’re devastated and still in shock. While he was missing, there was still a small sliver of possibility that he was alive, but at least we now know what happened to him.

“Obviously the police have to do their identification but we know it’s him. I said a few weeks ago that it was almost like a double loss. We had lost our dad and his body, but now we are able to lay him to rest next to his wife and have a funeral.

“We will also probably have a memorial service for him in Glasgow.”

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Mrs Wilson said her dad had been found on farmland south-west of Sible Hedingham, which was not the direction that police and rescue teams had been searching.

She said: “We worked it out he’d walked about eight miles after getting off the bus in Halstead, and it looks as though he went into Sible Hedingham and then tried to go back towards Halstead.

“From what we’ve been told, he laid down under some bushes and it was all very peaceful.”

Mr Wilson was a former headteacher of Shawlands Academy in Glasgow, and moved to Essex 11 and a half years ago with his wife Sybil to be closer to their three grandchildren - Scott, 23, Kirsty, 22, and Mhairi, 17.

Sybil, who grew up with Gordon in Glasgow after first meeting him as a child in 1938, also suffered from vascular dementia and died in July 2013.

Mrs Wilson said: “My mum and dad moved down to be closer to family and my dad helped tutor his grandchildren, who are all doing very well at school and university, which is evidence of his teaching.

“He liked to help people, that was really his defining quality. He was a very jolly man with an engaging personality, but he was also a very effective and disciplined man, who helped turned round schools in Glasgow.

“We’ve been contacted by many ex-students who have said what a big help he was in their lives.”

Mr Wilson is survived by two younger siblings; a sister, Maureen, who lives in Canada, and brother Sandy, who lives near Portsmouth.

Note: All photographs in the gallery have been supplied by Gordon’s family as a tribute to his life.