The family of missing man Justin Mathis are holding a family party to mark his 30th birthday as they struggle to hold onto hope he will be found.
Mr Mathis would have been celebrating his birthday today (Thursday, August 2), but instead of marking the milestone with him, all his Corby family can do is stay strong and try to carry on with their lives.
Their misery began in February last year when Mr Mathis went missing from his home in Conwy, North Wales, aged 28.
Tonight as they light the candles on a birthday cake, they will still be hoping for news of their son and brother.
Mr Mathis’ sister Vicky McIntyre, 24, of Uist Walk, Corby, said: “It has been a terrible struggle for everyone, especially my mum. Today should have been such a happy one for Justin and we want to be together to mark the occasion. Being together on his birthday makes it bearable for us all. It’s a comfort to be together as a family and to talk about Justin.
“Some days are easier than others but his disappearance never really leaves our thoughts for very long.”
Mr Mathis was last seen near the Lifeboat station on Conwy Quay. Following the disappearance of the pub landlord, who ran the Bridge Inn, Conwy, police combed the coastline and the coastguard and RNLI were drafted in to carry out underwater searches.
A boot similar to the ones worn by Mr Mathis was later found on the coastline of the Conwy Estuary.
Vicky said: “Police tell us the case is still live but we haven’t heard anything from them in a long time.
“As a family we try to keep Justin in the public’s attention. We can’t give up looking for him. It’s completely devastating. Some days, in my heart, I feel Justin is still alive.
“Other days, no matter what, we just want to know what has happened.”
Mr Mathis attended Pope John School, Corby, and although he moved away 12 years ago, made frequent visits home.
His mother Patricia and stepfather Kenny McIntyre, of Uist Walk, Corby, sisters Vicky and Kelly and brothers Vincent and Wesley Johnston have enlisted the help of the charity Missing People to help in the search for their brother.
A Twitter campaign is being run as part of their search.