Primetime cameraman Simon White has returned to Kos this week with ITV Yorkshire colleagues Mark Witty and Duncan Wood to document South Yorkshire Police’s relaunch of the Ben Needham’s investigation, nearly 25 years after his disappearance.
They arrived on the Greek island yesterday ahead of 10 British Police Officers, due Tuesday, who will be investigating ‘as if from scratch’. Detective Inspector Jon Cousins says he would like to remove the “myth and legend” surrounding this case and has already spoken on air to the Calendar News team – the first live broadcasts from the Needham’s Kos farmhouse residence appearing on Good Morning Britain this morning.
Ben’s Mum, Kerry, has been quoted in a Mirror article saying: “I’m overjoyed that after all these years the Greek police are allowing British police to investigate. I believe someone in Kos knows the answer. I just hope they end my nightmare. I really feel Ben is alive and that someone in Greece knows where he is. Like the police, I would appeal to the people of Kos to help end my pain.”
In January 2015 the Home Office awarded £700,000 to continue the hunt for Ben, and this will enable the officers to continue investigations until October this year; while in Kos they intend to interview witnesses and follow leads that have already been uncovered.
This visit follows an internet appeal by DI Cousins to Kos’ expat community, and Kerry further urges witnesses to come forward stating: “They have nothing to fear from us. I just want to know what happened to my son.”
To find out the latest from Kos make sure you watch ITV Yorkshire’s Calendar news all this week, follow their news feed or visit our Twitter feed for the most current updates.
We would like to wish the team the very best of luck, and hope for positive results for Kerry and all Ben’s family.
Yesterday evening the Pride of Britain Awards 2012 took place at Grosvenor House in London, honouring the brave and selfless people of Great Britain.
Calendar’s viewers voted Sheffield pensioner John Burkhill as their ‘Local Hero’. He is best known for his unusual style of fund raising – pushing a pram through the streets in a bright green wig! He has also run over 800 marathons and has raised £160,000 for McMillan Cancer Support. Unfortunately he just missed out on winning the Nation’s Local Hero Award, which went to Anne and Terry Panks, who have opened their own home to over 1,000 homeless men in 32 years. After the ceremony he commented: “We’re sorry we didn’t win for Yorkshire but it’s terrific, and I think Terry and Anne deserved to win. It was a great, great honour to be here.”
Primetime cameraman Simon White spent yesterday evening with Calendar’s Mark Witty and Dan Harris, and all the nominees and celebrities. Calendar had exclusive access and their material is being fed to all the ITV regional news programmes today. Amongst those they interviewed was Yorkshire teenager Jack Carroll, who won the ‘Teenager of Courage’ Award. Flanked by the Spice Girls and Alan Carr, he was asked how he’d enjoyed it: “Mad really, really mental. You know, I’m adjusting slowly. It’s a bit mad, but it’s been good fun.” Pressed further about how the night had gone he added: “It’s not digging roads. It’s just me going ‘ooh aah’ and then everyone going ‘aaaah ooh’, and that’s basically the long and the short of it”, to which Alan Carr jovially retorted: “How’s that going to look written down in the paper?”.
The Calendar team recorded many stars of stage and screen including Robbie Williams, Ian McKellan, Amanda Holden, Jon Bon Jovi, Emma Bunton, Melanie C, Louis Walsh, Nicole Scherzinger, Myleene Klass, Lincolnshire X Factor star Ella Henderson and many more. But the real stars of the night are those that were being honoured with the awards, and the many more unsung heroes throughout Great Britain whose efforts go largely unnoticed. For them, this programme is being aired tonight. We hope you tune in to celebrate their magnificent efforts.
A team from Calendar News, including Primetime cameraman Simon White, have returned to the Greek Island of Kos this week with South Yorkshire Police as they continue their search for Ben Needham who went missing from the island 21 years ago.
Ben’s mother Kerry and grandparents moved from Sheffield to the outskirts of Kos town in the early 1990s. In July 1991 Ben disappeared from outside their home. It was assumed he had been snatched, but investigators have recently decided to excavate land after it came to light that significant building work was happening near to where Ben was last seen.
The South Yorkshire Police are taking a team of experts and cadaver dogs to excavate a mound of rubble and field near to where Ben went missing two decades ago. With state of the art technology, including sonar for bone detection, they will be excavating a rubble pile under which, they fear, the two year old could have been accidentally buried.
After two decades of tireless searching for her son, Kerry is not down heartened by this latest development. She still firmly believes Ben is alive, but also welcomes this line of investigation as an opportunity to eliminate speculation.
In an exclusive interview for Calendar News Kerry said: “In all honesty I’m happy about it. Not happy about the fact they’re going to be digging up ground looking for my son’s bones, but the fact that it’s going ahead, there’s going to be a thorough and proper investigation. I’m just thinking of it as an elimination process”.
Calendar producer Mark Witty and Simon were fundamental in renewing the search for Ben after appearing live on Greek TV on the 20th anniversary of his disappearance. They appealed directly to the public for information about Ben, and generated new leads. They travelled again to Greece to record footage of Kerry meeting with a potential ‘Ben’ – a Greek gypsy boy who had always suspected he could be Kerry’s son. Unfortunately they were not a DNA match, so the search continued.
This dig is a first for South Yorkshire Police who have never turned an area of foreign land into a crime scene before. The excavation begins tomorrow and will take at least eight days. Watch ITN News and Calendar News for all the latest developments, or follow us on Twitter @primetime_media