A HEARTBROKEN widower who was feared dead by his family has been found safe and well.
Dementia sufferer Derek Hesketh, whose wife Margaret died last year, went missing on Thursday morning and when he had not been seen for 24 hours police issued an appeal for help in finding him.
His distraught daughter Karen Masters said that her 70-year-old dad “has not been the same” since Margaret died and she was fearing the worst.
Police grew increasingly concerned as Derek has early-stage dementia and had not taken his medication.
Neither had he followed his daily routine or visited the places he usually frequents.
Before he was found on Friday tea-time, Karen, 45, who lives with Derek said: “He has never been the same since my mum died last November. He has just given up. He went downhill so fast.
“The night before he went missing he said: ‘I want to be with Mag - I have had enough’.
“We are absolutely devastated. Losing our mum was bad enough.
“My dad is a good man. He would do anything for anybody.
“We just want him back, safe and well.”
Derek, who has three children and six-grandchildren, was a former pit worker, who also owned his own security company.
His disappearance sparked a major search around pubs and betting shops in Wigan town centre and along the various canal routes around the borough as far as Parbold places he regularly frequented.
But the story had a happy ending yesterday when police announced the pensioner had been found safe and well.