County Durham Mum Hope For Missing Son

3 May 2012, 14:42 | Updated: 30 March 2016, 13:50

Ian Bell was playing with friends near his home in Sunnybrow, Willington, County Durham, last Friday evening when he was swept into the Wear.

Despite a major operation involving the police, firefighters, search specialists, the RAF and hundreds of members of the public, Ian has not been found.

Yesterday, police said they had made the difficult decision to scale down the hunt.

Ian's mother, Claire Bell, said: “We still have hope in our hearts that Ian will be found soon and just want to find him and bring him home.

“As Ian's mother I have always made sure he was aware of the dangers when playing nearby to the river.

“We are all devastated that we may never find Ian, but we will always have hope and will continue to search for him.

“Our friends and neighbours have been fantastic over the last few days and we would like to thank everyone involved in the search for their help - it means such a lot to the family during this extremely difficult time that we have the support of our tight-knit community.”