Denise Horvath-Allan didn’t get answers to the questions that have haunted her for 28 years when Britain’s Got Talent turned the spotlight toward her, but she did get some much needed support.
Horvath-Allan’s son Charles went missing from Kelowna in 1989 and since that time she’s tirelessly searched for answers that have never materialized. Traveling from London to the Okanagan to find answers has depleted her financially and emotionally, and few people in her home country knew what she was going through, leaving her increasingly isolated.
Some of that changed with the Missing People Choir.
“Singing and being part of the Missing People Choir is so uplifting … I can sing my heart out for Charles,” she said.
There was comfort in being with people who knew what she was experiencing. Everyone in the choir has also suffered the loss of a loved one who simply vanished and their songs, I Miss You, Wings and With You convey the depths of that shared experience.
But when the choir competed on Britain’s Got Talent that network of support widened.
The choir recently placed 8th in the TV competition that attracts nine million viewers per episode, but it was clear from reams of press coverage that the stories of the men and women in the choir captured the attention of the UK.
“It has been a very lonely road to walk for 28 years,” she said. “It’s good that the public are becoming more aware of Charles’ case at home.”
Now, she hopes, there will be more positive returns on the show, despite the fact it’s concluded.
“We certainly raised awareness around the world and made some noise for the missing … well, I hope we did,” she said.
Charles went missing when he was 20 years old while he was backpacking through Canada.
“There isn’t a minute your mind is free from the pain and heartbreak,” Horvath-Allan said in a clip for the show before the performance aired.
The performance itself brought tears to the eyes of both audience members and the four-person panel of judges, who later gave their full support of the choir.
“Look, guys first of all I have to pay you absolute respect for what you’ve done,” said judge Simon Cowell. “Sometimes I think awareness is just as important as anything else. So, it’s incredible.”
The Capital News spoke to Horvath-Allan earlier this year, and touched base with her about where the investigation into her son’s death stood.
“I’m getting older now at age 67, so there isn’t much time left,” said Horvath-Allan, who has been searching for son Charles Horvath since May 26,1989.
She believes the secret of what happened to her son was somewhere around the Tiny Town campsite where her son had been staying in a tent, but tangible clues to assist the police investigation have not been found.
“It’s the hardest thing to deal with in your life. My world has been a roller-coaster to hell. I’m tired now and I want to get off and see it resolved,” said Horvath-Allan.
“But I’ve always said as long as I can stand, walk and talk, I will keep searching for my son. As a friend said to me once, ‘Don’t let the buggers get you down,’” she said.