Nigel Smith, a Work Programme personal adviser, was reunited last week (11 November) with Roger McCoubrey, the missing man he found back in March this year.
Roger went missing earlier this year, walking out of his family home in Midsomer Norton without his phone, wallet or identification. Roger kept walking until Nigel found him near Millfield School, Street, three days later. During the walk Roger had slept in the Market Cross in Shepton Mallet and a farm building.
Nigel’s job as a personal adviser in Somerset involved him visiting offices across the county. It was while he was travelling from Frome to Bridgwater he noticed a man slumped over a fence.
“I was doing nearly 40 mph when I spotted him” said Nigel. “He didn’t look homeless, he looked in pain and distressed, I thought he was having a heart attack.” Nigel who supports people who are long term unemployed back into work, turned his car round and went to investigate.
“As soon as I got close to him I could see he hadn’t slept or shaved in a while.” Nigel, who spent 16 years in the armed forces, commented. Finding the man was disorientated Nigel helped him into his car and drove him to the council offices in Glastonbury before being recommended the homeless shelter in Wells.
Nigel was unaware of the furore Roger’s disappearance was causing. Anxious to trace her father Nicola, Roger’s daughter, made appeals through local media and social media. She comments: “It was a tough decision for us as a family to put it on social media that Dad was missing, as we normally only use social media for happy times, but as it turned out it was the best thing we could have done because it was the power of social media that found Dad. Mum and I were out searching all day, as were neighbours and my Dad's work colleagues but with social media you have thousands of eyes out there looking.”
As a result of the online search campaign Nigel’s wife and fellow Prospects employee, Barbara, spotted a post on Facebook from Nicola thanking people after Roger was found, and realised the post was about the man Nigel had helped.
Roger is now on the road to recovery and is happy to be back with his family in Midsomer Norton. Nigel visited him last week to see how he was doing and was delighted to see the change.
Nigel commented: “Seeing Roger fit and well, and back with his family is wonderful, he just needs to keep looking after himself now. When I saw him all those months ago I was concerned so to see him again looking well was genuinely gratifying. Roger was being bullied at work and the stress just pushed him over the edge. I work with people like Roger everyday and was just glad I could help out.”