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Family’s praise for Facebook’s role in helping to find missing North Walsham man John Reynolds

PUBLISHED: 15:03 08 January 2014 | UPDATED: 15:23 08 January 2014

Pensioner John Reynolds celebrates returning to the Norfolk and Norwich hospital.

Pensioner John Reynolds celebrates returning to the Norfolk and Norwich hospital.


Pensioner John Reynolds was in good spirits this afternoon as he returned home to North Walsham following the large scale search relayed across the world via the social networking sites Facebook and Twitter, which ultimately led to his discovery.

Social media is a force for good

Polly Grice

Facebook and Twitter were crucial in the hunt for missing John Reynolds and we’ve selected 10 other great examples of social media being used for good causes.

1. Lost teddy reunited with owner

When Lauren Bishop Vranch found a stuffed lion toy on a train she embarked on a mission to reunite him with his owner. Pictures of the teddy on Facebook and Twitter quickly went viral and ‘Roar’ was reunited with his loving owner.

2. Batkid saves the day

Miles Scott, a five-year-old with leukaemia, became Batman for a day as San Francisco was transformed into Gotham City. The Make A Wish Foundation called for people to come along and thousands lined the streets. Miles’ adventures were broadcast online and he even got a Tweet from President Obama.

3. Riot clean-ups

Rioting in London (pictured) shocked the country back in 2011, but people quickly pulled together using social media to organise a mass clean-up operation.

4. Furry friends

The RSPCA uses social media sites to keep followers updated with news, events and rehoming stories. People looking to adopt a pet can even browse pictures uploaded to the Facebook site for their

local area and many animals are now rehomed this way.

5. A modern love story

Denis Lafargue, from Louisiana, and Elizabeth Wisdom, from Texas, first ‘met’ on photo-sharing site Instagram.

After exchanging comments and eventually numbers, the two

met up and Denis proposed last summer.

6. The missing manbag

Jamie McDonald was taking part in a charity run across Canada when his bag was stolen. Pleas for its return went viral and the bag was eventually found while donations from well-wishers poured in.

7. Long-lost siblings

65 years after being separated, Clifford Boyson and his sister Betty Billadeau were reunited after a son of Clifford’s friend searched for Betty on Facebook. He got in touch with her and brought the siblings together.

8. Donating with a click

Facebook users can support their favourite charity by ‘liking’ their page, but in December the social media giant announced plans to add a ‘donate’ button. With one click, users can give an amount of their choice direct to the charity.

9. Make a change is a petition website which allows internet users to call for social change. Victories the site takes credit for include an army veteran who secured a visa for his Afghan interpreter and the decision to put Jane Austen on a new English banknote.

10. Christmas surprise

Canadian airline WestJet spread some festive joy this Christmas, surprising passengers waiting for their luggage with presents instead. The ‘WestJet Christmas Miracle’ video has nearly 35m views on YouTube and was one of the real tear-jerkers of the season.

The 81-year-old was kept in overnight at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital’s (NNUH) Cringleford ward for observation reasons following blood tests, but was allowed to return home earlier today.

His family spoke of the important role played by Facebook in helping to track him down when he failed to return to the hospital after going for a walk at 1pm on Monday.

An appeal put out through the website was shared 22,500 times and was seen by Old Catton man Jake Beales, 23, who recognised Mr Reynolds while walking his black Labrador Zooskie in George Hill, more than six miles away from the hospital.

Mr Reynolds’ daughter Natalie Wade said: “The Facebook campaign actually led to him being found so I was very impressed, especially by the number of messages being shared- the appeal was shared 22,500 times.

“I think that is the best use of Facebook. I have been critical of it in the past, but the fact that it led to someone recognising him proves that it works.”

His son Rich Greeves posted: “22,000 reposts of my appeal for my dad. I am blown away by the kindness and support in Norfolk tonight. Wait till I tell him what a celebrity he is thank you one and all.”

Ms Wade said her father was happy to be returning to the home he shared with his wife Rosalind after being discharged, adding: “He was in good spirits when he was found and he enjoyed having the attention of three nurses and was very happy to be staying in the hospital overnight.”

The family also raised some concerns about the care he received at the hospital, feeling he should not have been left unattended as he had a medical condition.

A spokesman for the hospital could not comment on Mr Reynolds’ circumstances, but said patients were assessed to see if they needed more intensive nursing observation.

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