THE family of an elderly man who was found dead four days after he went missing are ‘humbled’ by effort the community put in to help during their search.

Brian Tomlinson, 80, of Hemingfield, went missing on Friday, sparking a major search operation.

Almost 50 police officers, volunteers from Mountain Rescue and South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue were drafted in to help locate Brian.

In addition to this, scores of concerned residents were out in their cars, on horses, and on foot searching for him.

Yesterday, Brian’s daughter Helen Freeman, told the Chronicle: “I want to thank everyone who took the time to come out and search for him.

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“People have been out at all hours looking for him and I can’t thank people enough for their help.”

Brian left his home at around 4pm on Friday and drove to Hopwood Street, Barnsley, where he left his car.

Following this, CCTV images were released showing him walking along Castlereagh Street towards Princess Street.

Further footage shows him walking down Grange Lane past the Mill of the Black Monks, then along Pontefract Road with the last confirmed sighting of Brian being just before Cudworth roundabout at around 8.30pm that night.

On Saturday, he was reported missing and a borough-wide search was launched.

But on Tuesday police confirmed a body had been found by specialist officers in Small Bridge Dyke on the Trans Pennine Trail between Lundwood and Cudworth.

This was later confirmed to be Brian.

“My dad would have hated everyone making such a fuss of him, but it’s no less than he deserves,” said Helen.

“We have been overwhelmed by the wonderful comments we have received and it just shows how good our community is.

“As a family we are taking comfort in the fact that he is now reunited with our mum Sheila, who died three years ago.

“My dad was such a gentleman and we will miss him dearly, especially his five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

“Myself and my brother Keith are very humbled by the love and support and to see how much my dad was loved is comforting.”

As news of Brian’s disappearance circulated on social media, Emma Day and Emma Heeley, who are friends of Brian’s daughter, created a Facebook page ‘Find Brian’.

In just 24 hours, more than 16,000 people were following the page, sharing possible sightings and updating the public with CCTV images and the latest from the police.

Emma Day said: “We have been overwhelmed at the response we have received on the page.

“It was nice to see and we would like to say a massive thank you to everyone who joined the page, and took the time out of their lives to help us look for Brian.

“We are heartbroken that we didn’t get the outcome we wanted.

“We are planning to use Brian’s page as a missing person page run by myself, Emma Heeley and Brian’s granddaughter, Morgan.

“We want to push the Herbert Protocol, a scheme which encourages carers to compile useful information which could be used in the event of a vulnerable person going missing.

“As we already have more than 16,000 followers and most of them are from Barnsley, we hope to use the platform to share when someone is missing, and Barnsley folk will be able to quickly share the information and hopefully the person will be located quickly and found safely.”