10:30AM, Thursday 08 March 2018
A missing Maidenhead woman who walked into a blizzard with no shoes or coat on was found safe on Sunday.
Ashleigh Fair, 19, walked out of the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading on Thursday, March 1, morning and was found on Sunday in Paddington, London.
Ashleigh’s father, Nigel Fair, thanked the public, the police, and the media for their help in finding his daughter.
He said: “I am so impressed with all those people.
“What could have been a grizzly disaster had a successful outcome, with all the warmth and friendship and love that you could possibly imagine.
“So often things hang by a thread, and you think ‘thank god for that thread.’”
Ashleigh, a former pupil at Newlands Girls’ School, took a taxi from Reading on Thursday and was spotted later on that day in Marble Arch, London, on CCTV footage.
She was found on Sunday by a member of the public in Paddington, who recognised her from pictures that had been used in the media.
Nigel does not know the identity of the person, but thanked them and praised them for acting quickly by telling a nearby policeman.
He said: “A massive thank you and well done for thinking quickly, making a decision and finding a police officer.”
When she was found, Ashleigh had a coat and shoes on.
Nigel speculated that she got them from a homeless shelter near Paddington.
“She chose the worst day of the year to go missing,” he said.
“But she’s quite wily when she needs to be – part of me is really proud of her.”
A former ballet dancer and student of the Royal Ballet School, Nigel pointed out that Ashleigh’s lack of shoes would not have affected where she could have gone.
He said: “Ballet dancers have the most extraordinary physical endurance – especially when it comes to their feet.”
Taken back to the Royal Berkshire Hospital on Sunday night to recover, Nigel and his wife Alison saw their daughter for an hour on Monday.
Ashleigh’s 12-year-old sister Lara expects to see her soon.
“She was quite pleased to see us and she was also a little bashful.
“She wasn’t very forthcoming with what happened but we didn’t want to interrogate her.
“The main thing was to see her and reassure her that we still love her.”
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