THE FATHER of Claudia Lawrence has retired from his post as a consultant for a solicitors firm.

Peter Lawrence joined the law practice Ware & Kay as a partner in 1972, a post which he held for 30 years before becoming a sole practitioner for eight years.

Mr Lawrence, who lived in Darlington before moving to North Yorkshire, has been instrumental in bringing about a change in the law to help the families of missing people.

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The Guardianship (Missing Persons) Bill was passed by the House of Commons earlier this year and ensures someone with sufficient interest in the property and affairs of a missing person can be appointed as guardian by a court 90 days after their disappearance.

He began campaigning for the legislation several years after his daughter, chef Claudia Lawrence, disappeared on her way to work at the University of York in March 2009.

Peter said: “I have seen and experienced many changes since I started. The office was a quieter place as we didn’t have photocopiers, computers, faxes, mobile phones and life was a much slower pace.

“I therefore feel it appropriate to bow out at the age of 71. I will miss the people I have come in contact with, both staff and clients, many of whom I have known since the beginning of my career, but I am now ready to start a new chapter. Singing is a huge part of my life both with the York Musical Society and Missing People’s Choir with lots of events planned for the future.”

Peter Kay, senior director of the firm, which has offices in York and Wetherby, said: “Peter has been an outstanding consultant for the clients of Ware & Kay and has delivered exceptional service to the firm.

“He has provided an influential voice and an in-depth level of expertise on all planning and agricultural matters and we wish him a long and happy retirement and success for everything that lies ahead.”