THE father of missing chef Claudia Lawrence has been awarded an OBE for services to the families of missing persons.

Peter Lawrence is the founder of the Guardianship (Missing Persons) Bill 2017, known as Claudia’s Law, and is also an active member of the Missing People’s Choir which reached the Britain’s Got Talent final in 2017.

Mr Lawrence had been campaigning for six years to push legislation which will allow families or friends to become legal guardian of a person’s affairs while they are missing, and manage their bank accounts and bills.

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

The legislation was given Royal Assent in Parliament in April 2017 following the movement by Mr Lawrence and charity Missing People, but it is still yet to be put into force.

Mr Lawrence said of receiving his honour: “I am delighted and shocked. It was completely unexpected. I am very proud of the work I have been doing to help all the families who are suffering from not being able to look after missing loved ones practical affairs.

“That is what I am most proud of, but I do not do it for recognition. The Missing People’s Choir is also something which helps the campaign because it has kept it in the public eye.

“Being on Britain’s Got Talent last year certainly helped the campaign.”

Having qualified as a solicitor in 1970, Mr Lawrence moved to North Yorkshire in 1972 and was a partner at Ware & Kay, based in Malton, for 30 years followed by practising as a sole practitioner for eight years.

Looking to the future, Mr Lawrence, who retired in September 2017, said he would keep trying to get the Ministry of Justice to bring the Act into force.

He added: “It will happen, we are just trying to make it happen sooner rather than later.”

Last April, the Government said the law would be in force within a year, with delays kept to an “absolute minimum”, but the Ministry of Justice confirmed earlier this year it had not been done, and it may not happen until October at the earliest, and possibly as late as 2019.

Mr Lawrence said: “Thousands of families have been struggling to cope because a family member is missing and nothing can be done about their financial affairs, such as mortgages, insurances, investments. Great financial hardship is caused to many such families as a result.”