Partner of deceased adventurer wants to update Aylesbury relatives on funeral plans and fundraiser

Dan discovered his partner's body two weeks ago and wants to make sure her relatives are informed of the funeral plans.

Tuesday, 24th August 2021, 5:28 pm

Dan Colegate has confirmed the funeral plans for his late partner, Esther Dingley, who's family live in Stone, Aylesbury, having found her body two weeks ago.

Dan, finally received closure after nine 'painful months of uncertainty' looking for his partner in crime, who disappeared hiking alone in the Pyrenees.

Over the last nine months Dan's hunt for his partner and fellow adventurer has gained a lot of coverage, but he explained to the Bucks Herald, that he wanted to make sure news had reached Esther's oldest relatives.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

photo from Daniel Colegate

After discussions with Esther's mum, Dan wanted to make sure relatives that may have missed the online updates on the national news outlets, were informed of Esther's passing.

Once Esther is returned to the family, a private cremation is planned close to the Pyrenees. Dan and Esther's other relatives will then scatter her ashes in a series of 'places close to her heart'.

Esther's family have asked for people not to send cards and flowers, but instead to consider donating to the "Remembering Esther" fundraising page, which can be viewed here.

Money raised will go to Sightsavers, a global blindness prevention charity. At the time of writing £7,423 has been raised surpassing the £5,000 target, hundreds have donated.

Esther Dingley and Dan Colegate

Within Dan's heartfelt post on the fundraising page, he advises people are welcome to leave a message in the comments, detailing long and short memories they have of Esther.

Dan wants to read all of them out to Esther when the family lay her to rest.

Two weeks ago, LBT Global, an overseas crisis support charity, advise that Esther's death was most likely an accident.

The last communication Dan had with his partner was on November 22. In a blog published on the BBC Dan outlined how his world fell apart when he discovered Esther was lost.

Since Esther's disappearance, he has trekked 700 miles across the vast mountain range in the hopes she might be ok.

Search dogs, helicopters and wide-ranging police searches were used in attempts to find the 37-year-old hiker. Ultimately it was only two weeks ago that her belongings and body were found.

Dan and Esther detailed their adventures in a popular travel blog, they decided to explore Europe living in a camper van over six-and-a-half years ago.

It was during a month-long solo trek that Esther went missing.

Dan detailed their relationship in detail on the fundraising page. He said in a statement: "In the days or weeks ahead, Esther will be returned to us. Years ago, we promised each other that on our 70th anniversary we’d walk hand in hand on the same beach we visited on our first anniversary.

"We’d eat chips, play in the arcade again, fail to win any cuddly toys, and reflect on all of our many adventures before, hopefully, slipping away together in time – still holding hands if we could.

"In the end we only got 19 of those years. It’s more than a lot of people get with a soul mate, but (selfishly) it isn’t nearly enough. She’d already taught me so much about how to live, how to love and how to live a multicoloured life.

"That’s what she called our lifestyle, the beautiful, trusting, simple way that she used to squeeze in so much joy into every waking moment. I honestly believe our best years were yet to come.

"Knowing that Esther didn’t suffer, that she was doing what she loved and that our last words were “I love you” will (perhaps), one day give more comfort than I can find today. I also hope I can find a way forward that honours Esther’s spirit, though I haven’t a clue yet what that looks like.

"Of course, Esther also had a backup plan – she always did. That’s why, when the time is right and after a very small family service, her ashes will be scattered in the places she loved the most. She’d have done the same for me – and we’d already agreed on those places."