Funding plea as search for Jamie Taggart is set to resume on Christmas Eve

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Yellow ribbons to remember botanist Jamie Taggart have been tied outside Cove fire station, as fund-raising for the search continues.

The search for Jamie is due to resume tomorrow (Christmas Eve), after being abandoned because of heavy snow in the mountain of northern Vietnam.

Anne Ferguson donated her savings to help the appeal to bring Jamie Taggart home.
Anne Ferguson donated her savings, earned by collecting eggs, to help the appeal to bring Jamie Taggart home.

Organisations and individuals across the Rosneath Peninsula have contributed cash to help the cause – including six year-old Annie Ferguson of Cove, who donated her £14.50 savings.

Community-minded Annie knows Jamie from visiting Linn Gardens and offered the cash when she heard about the fund-raising appeal.

Thousands of pounds have been donated in total, but more is still needed to cover the costs of search parties; a collection will be held during the Peninsula Choir concert in Cove Burgh Hall on Saturday January 18.

A ‘Jamie Taggart Search’ Facebook group has also been up for the 41 year-old, a retained firefighter who disappeared on November 1 while on a plant-hunting expedition.

Jamie’s friend and fellow botanist Ian Sinclair, who has been liaising with search parties, said snow was still melting in Vietnam.

Yesterday (Sunday) he was updated via phone by Phil Hoolihan of Ethos Travel who that morning had been to the spot where Jamie was last sighted, at a height of 2,200 metres.

“The snow is continuing to melt, but there is a massive amount of snow damage to the forest such as collapsed trees,” he said.

The next searches are planned to start on December 24, concentrating on four trails inside the forest of Lai Chau and Lao Cai after advice by Loung Van Hao of the national park.

“The weather has been horrendous, with snow down to Sapa,” Ian said.

“This is extremely unusual as Sapa is upper tropical rainforest.

“A large group from the national park will be doing an intensive search once the snow melts.  We are waiting to hear what our donation to the next search will be.”

Jamie was last seen on November 1 – but his family did not discover he was missing until he failed to return home on a flight four weeks after that.

A Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesman said today: “We are still in close contact with the local authorities and are providing consular assistance to the family at this difficult time.”

The 41 year-old is a retained firefighter in Cove, where he and his father Dr Jim Taggart run the internationally renowned Linn Gardens.

Collecting cans for the appeal to help the search are now in Cove and Kilcreggan post offices, Walkers’ butchers in Kilcreggan, the Lighthouse pub, Knockderry House Hotel, the Buffet Shop in Helensburgh, St Modan’s and Craigrownie churches and GPs’ surgeries in Kilcreggan and Helensburgh.

Contributions towards the cost of the search for Jamie Taggart can be made by a cheque made payable to ‘Friends of the Linn’ with the words, written on the back, “for Jamie”.

The cheque should be sent to Mrs Rie Bellamy, treasurer, Friends of the Linn, Portkil House, Kilcreggan, Helensburgh, G84 0LF

If a payment is to be made through a bank the details are as follows: Friends of the Linn, Bank of Scotland, Helensburgh branch, sort code 800831, account no 00704064. Again the words ‘for Jamie’ should be used.

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