The heartbroken family of a man whose body has finally been found almost four years after he went missing say they may never know exactly how he died.
Chay Lancaster’s body was discovered by climbers at the bottom of a crag in the Lake District.
They immediately alerted police and Langdale Ambleside Mountain Rescue Team was called in.
Father-of-three Mr Lancaster, 41, went missing while walking alone in the Lake District in September 2010.
Despite extensive searches by the mountain rescue team and by family and friends no trace of him was found.
But on July 28, two shocked climbers came across his body at the base of Blake Rigg, Little Langdale, Cumbria, and alerted the emergency services.
It is believed he may have fallen.
Today Mr Lancaster’s daughter Anna, 24, paid tribute to her father and said while the outcome filled the family with sadness, it has also finally brought a sense of closure.
She said: “It is not what we wanted but as time went on, it was becoming less and less likely he would be found alive.
“We don’t know exactly what happened, and we might never know, but he was doing what he loved, walking in the Lake District, and that is of some comfort to us.
“I always thought the worst had happened. He left his house with his laptop on charge and his bathroom window open which weren’t the actions of someone who did not intend to return home.
“Now we are glad to have him back so that we can put him to rest.”
Mr Lancaster had not been seen by his family since leaving his mother’s home on Torsway Avenue, Layton, on September 11, 2010.
He was spotted on CCTV images boarding a train in Layton and then getting off in Windermere but the trail then went cold.
A spokesman for Lancashire Police said there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding the death and an inquest will be held later in the year.
Nick Owen, team leader for Langdale Ambleside Mountain Rescue Team, said two climbers had found Mr Lancaster’s body.
He said: “It was in an area that people wouldn’t necessarily visit unless they had a specific purpose, as these men did for their climb.
“The body was at the bottom of the crag. It looked like Mr Lancaster had fallen from a height above but we don’t know where he fell from.”
Mr Lancaster, was a former pupil of St Kentigern’s School and St Mary’s School in Blackpool, and had worked supporting adults with learning difficulties up until his death.
Mum-of-three Ms Lancaster, of Ansdell Road, Blackpool, added: “We will always miss him. He was very popular and had lots of friends, many from school, and others from work. He was a keen walker and loved music as well.”
Simon Green, 45, of West Park Drive, Blackpool, who was a life-long friend of Mr Lancaster’s,said: “Chay was a great friend and a truly unique individual.
“He was a great guy, and a total individual thinker. He didn’t do things by the book.
“He was just a unique, fascinating person.”
Mr Green said the news would provide a degree of closure to Mr Lancaster’s family.
He added: “As friends, we were hoping for a different outcome, but you just have to cope with what’s happened.
“When he went missing we knew he used to go walking every weekend so we immediately thought the worst.
“We went up to the Langdale area to try and make the public aware and to keep an eye out for him. I have very fond memories of Chay. He was a really independent, fantastic guy.”
The pair had performed in several bands together, including The Lyric Suite and The Fragments. In later years they performed as a duo at folk nights.
Mr Lancaster leaves his mother Judy, daughters Anna, Elizabeth and Jasmine, grandchildren Allister, Emily and Reggie and brother Mark. His funeral service will be held on Tuesday August 19 at 10.30am at Carleton Crematorium.
Timeline of tragedy. . .
September 11, 2010: Chay Lancaster goes missing after leaving his mother’s house on Torsway Avenue, Layton. CCTV footage showed him catching a train from Layton Railway Station and getting off in Windermere. Searches are launched by the Langdale and Ambleside Mountain Rescue Team using dogs and a helicopter.
September 25 and 26, 2010: Family and friends of Mr Lancaster search Langdale Valley, near Ambleside.
September, 2011: Posters featuring Mr Lancaster are displayed in railway stations across the North West as part of a link-up between Virgin Trains and charity Missing People.
December, 2011: Friends hold a fund-raising concert in aid of Langdale and Ambleside Mountain Rescue Team which raises £2,020.
July 2014: Chad Lancaster’s body discovered on Blake Rigg