NEWS that a banner featuring the city's three missing persons has been taken down has devastated the families of Jessica Small, Janine Vaughan and Andrew Russell.
(min cost $8)
Login or signup to continue reading
The banner was paid for by crowd-funding and put up underneath the billboard of Janine Vaughan as part of Missing Persons Week 2021.
The banner was taken down earlier this month, due to it being weathered having hung in the elements for almost 10 months.
But news the banner has been removed was upsetting to the families, who are calling on moves to have it returned, and in a permanent capacity.
Adam Vaughan, brother of Janine, who went missing from Bathurst in 2001, said both the billboard (featuring Janine) and banner (featuring Jessica, Janine and Andrew) had done an amazing job to keep all three in the public eye.
"While we always knew it was temporary, we obviously don't want it to go," he said.
He said the family were appreciative of council allowing the structure to be placed in the CBD, and hoped council would consider allowing it to stay permanently.
He said if it can't he would love to find a spot where it can be placed, even on a property on the outskirts of town.
"But we would love it to stay, we would love to put one in every exit and entrance into town.
Mother of Jessica Small, Ricki Small, agreed, saying there needed to be a permanent fixture in Bathurst with Jessica, Andrew and Janine all featured.
She said she was devastated to see the banner had been removed.
"That banner and the reward is all I have," she said.
She said she has been getting up every day for almost 25 years and not knowing what happened to her daughter, having to face people in the street and not know if they know what happened to Jess.
"It needs to stay."
She thanked the "kind people" who donated to have the banner made and said she was at a loss to understand why it would be removed.
"It's not hurting anyone."
"It has been there almost one year and the last time I saw it, which was just days before it was taken down, it looked quite perfect. To me it didn't look torn or weathered at all."
She said if there were people who were ashamed to have the banner up or by the the city's history of missing persons, that is no reason to take it down.
"That banner is everything at this point, all I have is her photo up there. It's the only hope I have, that someone one day might recall something they didn't recall back then," she said.
"I've had to live for 25 years knowing someone knows something.
"The families need that banner back and need it to stay."
Kiara, sister of Andrew Russell, agreed and said they too would fight to have the banner remain permanently.
"It's like Bathurst shies away from the fact there are three missing people," she said.
"There is no support from the council nor police in keeping our loved ones faces out there and remember. They're swept under a rug to be forgotten about.
"We all have fought hard for everything else why do we have to fight for this.
"We should have way more support especially within the community that our loved ones went missing."
The idea for Janine's billboard was born in April last year when Bathurst woman Rhonda Griffin came up with the idea.
The Vaughan family already had their own banner, and were asking on their Help Find Janine Vaughan Facebook site for somewhere to hang it, when the idea was born.
In just two weeks, thousands of dollars had been raised to fund the construction.
Ms Griffin then went about raising extra funds to have a banner, featuring all three of Bathurst's missing person's made, to hang under the permanent billboard.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content:
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.