THE wife of a pensioner who went missing on a walk from Stanbury and was traced through a fitness app on his phone has thanked those involved in his rescue.

Stephen Wright, 70, was found late on Tuesday morning (Nov 6) after having driven to Stanbury at noon the previous day to complete a circular Millennium Walk.

His wife, Judith, said her husband had only meant to be gone for a couple of hours. But what should have been a pleasant walk turned into a freezing all-night ordeal after he took a wrong turn, became lost and fell and broke his arm in the dark.

Mrs Wright said: “I want to say ‘thank you’ to everyone involved in finding my husband, including Hull Coastguard, the various search and rescue groups and the police who stayed with me and my son all night.

"I’d also like to thank all those members of the public who offered their support to the search.”

Mrs Wright, who lives in Heaton with her husband and their 38-year-old son, said Stephen was a very keen walker who normally went out every day.

She said that on Monday he called home on his mobile early in the evening, to tell her he was lost and was running out of battery power for his phone.

“I called 999 and they took it seriously straight away,” said Mrs Wright. “I phoned Stephen back once to let him know that I’d called the police.

“He couldn’t see any street lights, people, houses or anything. Then he fell in a hole and broke his arm.

“He was very tired and couldn’t keep walking so he lay down. But he was freezing cold. He’s had a heart attack before, so he takes heart medicine and his medication was overdue.”

She and her son faced a nerve-wracking late night and early morning while a major 18-hour search was conducted on the moors outside Haworth.

She said the news she and her son had been waiting for came well after 11am on Tuesday morning, when they were told Stephen had been found alive.

“He was nowhere near where he was supposed to be,” she said.

“I don’t yet know exactly where he was found, but I heard it was somewhere towards Trawden. It was the coastguard helicopter that found him.

“They took him to hospital in Leeds first, and he got back to Bradford later that day.

“His right arm still needs to be checked up on, and he may need an operation on it.”

Commenting on Twitter, PC Sam Hollings said Mr Wright had been exceptionally lucky as his location services on his phone were mostly switched off except for one app.

“Fortunately enough he had a fitness app running when his phone ran out of battery. Digital Media Investigation at its best,” he said.

Mr Wright previously worked in IT and electronics, and has been retired for five years. He has lived in Heaton for 33 years.

Haworth resident Stephen Hogg said local people banded together to support the lengthy search effort, and that businesses such as the Old Sun pub, Mill Hey Fisheries and the Haworth SPAR convenience store had offered food and hot drinks to those involved.