Former Hollyoaks star backs Nicola Payne appeal

By Steve Carpenter Friday 14 December 2012 Updated: 17/12 10:30

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Buy photos » George Evans at a recent press conference with the Payne family. Picture by Jon Mullis 51.012.003.cov.jm8

FORMER Hollyoaks star George Evans is backing a police appeal to solve the mystery of missing Coventry mother Nicola Payne.

The 21-year-old, who played Ryan in the popular Channel Four series, spoke with John and Marilyn Payne, to research a part for a play called The Missing, which recently finished after a series of sold out shows in London.

The play was created by a group of drama graduates, including George, to help raise awareness of missing people and implements Nicola's story into the script.

George told the Observer that speaking with Nicola's parents made him want to raise more awareness of missing people in the UK and he is hoping it can help encourage people to come forward with information.

"Hearing them speak about their experience was so informative," said George.

"We started this as just an idea for a show with the added bonus of spreading the word about this issue.

"But when we got speaking to people affected, we entered a world that we never knew really existed - I was taken back by it all really.

"I admire them so much for their bravery and they way they conduct themselves.

"The fact that they are able to talk about it so freely shows the sort of reserves people can have when you need to do something and push on through.

"As the show gets bigger we can reach a bigger audience and help people find out about cases such as Nicola's."

Police hope that George's involvement with the recent campaign will encourage younger members of the local community who may have grown up hearing stories or rumours about Nicola, to come forward and tell them any information they have.

George added: "The reason I was invited down is because the family are there, pushing to appeal to a younger group of people.

"They are now pushing social media quite a lot because these are the type of tools a lot of young people now use.

"I think they want to use me to try and engage with younger people who perhaps weren’t even born when Nicola disappeared who might have information that has until now been overlook slightly."

The play ran as a small set of previews in London and sold out every night.

And although Nicola's parents did not get to see the show, Nicola's family thanked George for supporting their campaign.

Marilyn added: “I remember when George rang up and we spoke that day, there were things he said that were interesting because he hadn't thought of it before.

“We know that if you've not been in the position that we're in, there are going to be some things that perhaps you're not going to think of, but I was glad it went well for him.

John now hopes this latest appeal might appeal to a new generation of people through the help of social media.

"They might have heard their parents or older friends say something which might relate to our case.

"If we get the message out there on some of these things like Twitter then something might come out of it."

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Nicola Payne went missing on December 14, 1991. Her son Owen was just six months old.

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Buy photos» George Evans is backing the campaign to find missing Coventry mother Nicola Payne. Picture by Jon Mullis 51.012.003.cov.jm6

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