STAFF at a cerebral palsy charity have said they are praying for the safe return of missing Kilbarchan pensioner Allan Burns, who founded their organisation.

Mr Burns, who has been missing from his home for nearly a fortnight, has been branded a “stalwart” by bosses at Bobath Scotland, who have admitted they are extremely concerned for his safety.

The 71-year-old dad-of-three, who mainly worked as a geologist, received a MBE in 2015 for being one of the founders of Bobath, which he helped set up in Scotland in 1995, in addition to its London base.

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Mr Burns, who suffers from dementia, has not been seen since Friday, January 18, when he was spotted on the Kilbarchan cycle path heading out on a walk towards Lochwinnoch.

Police have been carrying out extensive searches for him ever since, with dogs, mounted officers and mountain rescue teams all involved.

On Friday, a ‘stop and speak’ operation was staged near the cycle path, where cops spoke to passers-by and handed out posters in the hope of finding fresh information.

However, despite some possible sightings in the Castle Semple area of Lochwinnoch, officers have admitted there has been “no significant progress.”

Stephanie Fraser, chief executive of Bobath Scotland, said the charity would not have existed without Mr Burns, adding that she is thinking of his family.

She said: “Without Allan’s tireless campaigning, Bobath Scotland would simply not have existed and, thanks to his continued support, next year we will be celebrating our 25th anniversary.

“Before Bobath Scotland could open its doors, Allan sought the participation of NHS professionals and sourced significant funds. He negotiated an operating protocol with the Bobath Centre in London that ensured the clinical excellence of Bobath Scotland therapists and found suitable premises in Glasgow. Whilst doing this, he gathered together a team of like-minded families to help with the task of setting up and sustaining a Bobath Centre in Scotland.

“Allan has been a stalwart of the charity from the start. Everyone at Bobath Scotland is extremely concerned to hear of Allan’s disappearance and our thoughts are with his family.”

Alongside his work for Bobath, Mr Burns supported ReSurge Africa – an Ayrshire charity which trains reconstructive surgeons in some of the continent’s poorest areas.

Mr Burns previously worked at the old Canniesburn Hospital, in Glasgow, which specialised in plastic surgery.

And he helped train medical staff in Ghana, setting up a burns unit there, while also visiting Sierra Leone. 

Martyn Webster, a director of the charity, said: “We have had incredible success in Ghana, which I would say is largely down to Allan’s efforts.

“I remember he started out by writing to charitable trusts to try and raise money. I think he got replies to about four per cent of his letters.

“Allan just would not let go. He was extremely determined. He has left quite a legacy.

“His disappearance is upsetting for his family. We hope he is found.”

In a statement, Mr Burns’ family said: “Please be vigilant and pass all information to the police.”

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Inspector Jim Cast, based in Johnstone, said: “The length of time with no new sightings is a concern but we are remaining positive.”

If you have information about Mr Burns, call 101.