Long Preston bride puts off wedding for tribute to dad

Craven Herald: Jessica Cunliffe, with mum Linda Cunliffe and sister Olivia Jessica Cunliffe, with mum Linda Cunliffe and sister Olivia

It was supposed to be the happiest day of Jessica Cunliffe’s life.

But the bride-to-be has postponed her wedding on Sunday, April 29, choosing instead to join her sister Georgia on a sponsored climb up the Three Peaks where the siblings will leave memorials to their father who has been missing, presumed dead, since January.

On the same day, a massive air and land search for Grant Cunliffe is due to take place in the Scottish Cairngorms, where the Long Preston man disappeared three months ago.

Mr Cunliffe, an outdoor instructor, had been in the mountains notching up the hours towards qualifying as a winter mountain guide.

In his last text to his wife, Linda, he told her there was a “lot of snow but not to worry”.

The alarm was raised on January 21 by the police, who inspected his car and found a note saying he would be back on January 20.

Despite a large-scale search of the Lairig Ghru pass by 180 volunteers, an RAF helicopter and search and rescue dogs, he has never been found.

If the weather permits, the Cairngorm Mountain Rescue and Braemar Mountain Rescue, in co-ordination with the RAF and Grampian Police, are planning a major new search of the area on April 29.

It is hoped that snow will have cleared sufficiently to make the search easier.

At 6am that day, 21-year-old Jessica and Skipton Girls’ High School pupil Olivia, 16, will be joined by close family friends in their sponsored walk up the Three Peaks.

A number of other people will be joining them on the last peak as a tribute to Mr Cunliffe.

Mr Cunliffe’s wife, Linda, said: “Jessica and Olivia plan to put a photo of Grant on the top of each peak.

“They are doing this walk as a memorial and a tribute to their dad. Grant was a mountain leader and this is what he loved to do, climb mountains. He and his daughters were planning to do this before his disappearance.”

Once the climb has been completed, preparations will begin in earnest for Jessica’s wedding, which will now take place in July.

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