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Questions still remain one year on from Cheltenham teaching assistant Nathan Clarke's mysterious disappearance

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: February 25, 2013

By JOE LANE

MYSTERY:  Nathan Clarke, who went missing 12 months ago today

MYSTERY: Nathan Clarke, who went missing 12 months ago today

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PARENTS of a Cheltenham man who disappeared in mysterious circumstances on a Caribbean island a year ago today have spoken with pride of a "wonderful son".

Nathan Clarke vanished on the evening of February 25 last year while on a night out with friends in Grand Cayman Island.

Despite a massive search of the island, the only trace of the 31-year-old was his mobile phone, found submerged 50 metres offshore.

It was thought he may have drowned, but the family has never fully accepted that explanation as the former Pittville School pupil was an exceptionally strong swimmer.

Other theories range from a shark attack to being poisoned by a stone fish, abduction or sudden adult death syndrome.

Now, one year on, people are no closer to the truth.

Lizzie Clarke, Nathan's mum, said: "As the first anniversary of Nathan's disappearance is now with us, we still have no answers as to what happened and have come to terms with the fact that we will not see him again.

"We think of him with pride, for his love of life and for following his ambitions.

"From the time he qualified in sports and leisure management he followed his dreams and would have had a great future in teaching.

"He was loved and respected by all who met him and it was a joy to have such a wonderful son and brother."

Nathan, who was working on the island as a teaching assistant, was last seen at around 8.30pm as he, his fiancée Lisa Beck and a group of friends enjoyed drinks at Calico Jack's bar on Seven Mile Beach.

Lisa said she left Nathan to go to the bar – last seeing him walk towards the water's edge. Moments later he had gone.

Exhaustive searches proved fruitless and after three weeks, the island's emergency services halted their efforts.

Friends paid tribute to him on the anniversary of his disappearance and said there was still a faint hope he might be found alive one day.

Former school pal Anthony Davis, from Rowanfield, said: "You never know – you do hear about people turning up years later so it can happen.

"We still talk about him all the time and wonder what on earth can have happened."

Charlotte Simmonds posted a comment on the Find Nathan Facebook page.

She wrote: "Time goes by but we still think of you and still hold hope that you'll come home soon. We won't give up on you xx."

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