A Stamford family has thanked the community for coming out in their droves to help find their missing two-year-old daughter.
Angela Veress and her husband Krisztian Pecsi, of Airedale Road, Stamford, went out of their minds with worry after their youngest child Bianca disappeared from their back garden while playing with older sister Katalin, 16.
Katalin, who has just finished at Stamford Welland Academy and will start at New College Stamford in September, had taken her eyes off the youngster for a second at about 6pm on Thursday last week.
But panic really set in when she found Bianca’s dummy just outside the open gate.
Quick-thinking Katalin raised the alarm with her mother and younger brothers Gergo, eight, and Attila, six, before setting out to search for her.
She raised the alarm with a passing female police officer who put out an appeal on Facebook calling for help.
Within minutes, the community had responded in their droves and the post had been shared more than 1,700 times.
Krisztian, who rushed home from work in Leicester to help with the search, said that when he got home, he was astounded to find people combing the streets, along with police officers.
He said: “Small groups were coming together and looking through the fields out the back and we heard about people searching streets away. There could have been hundreds of people and they all saw on Facebook.
“It was a really big panic.”
Describing the moment she realised her sister had gone, Katalin said: “I was searching and searching for her and I didn’t know what to do. I went up to a police car and she said she could help us.
Bianca was eventually found just over two hours later nestled in between two boxes in the family’s shed, sleeping and oblivious to the drama that had unfolded during her nap.
The family said they checked the shed several times and even moved the boxes around looking for her, without noticing the little one hidden away.
Krisztian: “When she was found she didn’t know what was happening but everyone wanted to hug her so she was really happy.”
Asked what he wanted to say to everyone that helped, Kritszian said: “We would love to thank them all. Thank you to everyone that gave up their time and everyone that was so helpful to us. It could have been so much worse.”
The family are Hungarian and have only lived in Stamford for just over three years. They know their immediate neighbours but say they were overwhelmed that total strangers helped. They believe that the community spirit shown in searching for Bianca would not be found in other towns and cities.
Krisztian said: “I am so happy that we live in Stamford and that we are a part of this community. I thank God we live here. It is really good to know we can rely on the people that live in the community.”
Angela added: “I don’t know how many people came to help but I want to say thank you to every one of them. It was our worst nightmare.”
The police officer who posted the original entry on Stamford Town and Rural Neighbourhood Policing Team’s Facebook page later posted to say she had been found. That post has now been liked by 400 people and shared 150 times.
Ironically the family themselves don’t have a Facebook account and Krisztian said he has no plans to get one!
A police spokesman also extended the force’s thanks to everyone who assisted.
She said: “Officers would like to extend their sincere thanks to the local people who assisted in the search.
“The incident brought out a real sense of community spirit and thankfully had a happy ending with the little girl being found safe and well.”