A WORRIED community banded together yesterday to search the coastline for a woman who has been missing for almost a month.

Leanne Smith, from Whitehaven, was last seen at around 6pm on September 15 at her home.

And family, friends, and even those who don’t know her are hoping Ms Smith, previously Gourley, will be found safe and well, and got together in extreme weather conditions to search for her.

Organiser of the community-led search, Laura Matzk, asked the people of Whitehaven to meet at Haig Pit, Kells, at 11.30am for the search, and was accompanied by a handful of concerned residents.

The group split in two to search the west Cumbrian coastline “for as long as the weather permitted”, and tried to keep their hopes high, desperate to find any clues as to where 39-year-old Ms Smith is.

“Leanne’s only lived up here since August – she’s got no family here, she was very distressed the day she went missing, and no one’s seen her since that evening,” Ms Matzk said.

“She’s left her car, her dogs, everything, and I couldn’t just sit and think about it anymore – I had to do something.”

A woman who believes she may have been the last person to speak to Ms Smith took part in the search, and said: “I can’t get her out of my head, I just keep thinking I might have been one of the last people to speak to her.”

Ms Smith’s brother, Stuart Gourley, has made an emotional plea for information about his sister, saying: “Leanne, I am praying you are safe and well somewhere, we all just want you home.

“If anyone even thinks there is even a slight chance that they have seen her, please do get in touch so we can bring my sister home. Thank you.”

Milissa Dalby, Ms Smith’s best friend from Shipley in West Yorkshire, also appealed to the public for help, and addressed her missing friend directly.

“She is the kindest person I know and would do anything for anyone. Please, if anyone knows anything at all about Leanne’s disappearance, then please let the police know.”

“And ‘Le’, if you’re reading this, please, please get in touch with someone, just let us know you are okay as we are worried sick.”

Mr Gourley has created posters with details about his sister which he has circulated.

Ms Smith was last seen wearing a blue coat, carrying a handbag and has black shoulder-length hair in a ponytail.

Police say she has links to the Nottingham area.

Cumbria Police are appealing for anyone who has seen Ms Smith, or who can help with their enquiries, to contact them by calling 101.

Officers would also like to urge Ms Smith to contact this number if she sees this appeal.