Praise for community following search effort

Betty Watson.
Betty Watson.

The community of Newton Stewart was praised by local police officers this week following a 24-hour search for a missing woman.

Tragically, the body of 70-year old Betty Watson from the town was found in the Cree Estuary yesterday (Monday) afternoon following a thorough search of the River Cree from the Cree Bridge out to the Solway estuary.

The Nith Inshore Rescue boat gets ready to launch. SGGY 211013 1

The Nith Inshore Rescue boat gets ready to launch. SGGY 211013 1

And on Monday night, Inspector Stuart Davidson said the emergency response mounted after Mrs Watson was reported missing was “second to none.”

Speaking about the future of police provisions in the area during a meeting of Cree Valley Community Council, he said: “I can guarantee the emergency response by everyone - from volunteers, rescue officers and officers in the police - was probably one of the best in Scotland. From those searching to those engaing with the family, the whole effort was just second to none.”

Area Commander, chief inspector Irvine Watson said the response highlighted the special nature of rural Scotland. He added: “Some of our officers were out all night, had two hours at home and were back at it again. And not because they were getting paid any extra, but because they wanted to help and I’m not sure how many places in Scotland, and indeed the Central Belt, would see that level of commitment.”

Mrs Watson, a mother of two, was reported missing by her husband after she failed to return home. She was seen in the town centre at around 5.30pm on Sunday and later that evening, police launched a major search and rescue operation when she couldn’t be traced.

Galloway Mountain Rescue, Moffat Mountain Rescue, the Port William and Nith Inshore Rescue teams, Coatguard, members of the fire service, divers, a search and rescue helicopter, walkers and police were among those who trawled the River Cree and its clay banks for any sign of the missing woman. As night fell on Sunday, the operation was called off until daylight, but some searchers remained by the riverside.

And at first light, crews reconvened and battled rising river waters, torrential rain and an incoming tide.

After 2pm, as the tide began to recede into the Solway, a call was made that a body had been spotted and recovered in Wigtown Bay close to Creetown.

Police have now confirmed that body to be missing Betty Watson.