Desperate friends and family of a woman who has been missing for nearly a month are pleading for the public’s help to find her.

Leanne Smith, previously Gourley, was last seen at around 6pm on September 15 at her home address in Whitehaven.

And as those close to her become more concerned for her wellbeing, a search has been organised for today in a hope to find any clues as to where the 39-year-old is.

Laura Matzk, from Whitehaven, has arranged the search in the town this morning and is asking people to meet at Haig Pit, Kells at 11.30am to join in.

Ms Matzk, who doesn’t even know Ms Smith, said she has been so touched by her story, that she could not sit back any longer and “do nothing” so she set up a Facebook group called Find Leanne Gourley/Smith.

She said: “Personally I don’t know Leanne but daily I sat there thinking about her, wondering what was happening about her search.

“When it hit the three week mark I couldn’t just “think” about it any longer. I needed to be more pro-active, so I set up the Facebook group. She is someone’s daughter, sister, friend.

“Her family live away and she needs people in Cumbria to be rooting for her as well.”

Ms Matzk has been in regular contact with some of Ms Smith’s family and friends who live outside of the county and are desperately worried about her.

Ms Smith’s brother, Stuart Gourley, has made an emotional plea for information about his sister, saying: “Leanne, I am praying you are safe and well somewhere, we all just want you home.

“If anyone even thinks there is even a slight chance that they have seen her, please do get in touch so we can bring my sister home. Thank you.”

Mr Gourley has created posters with details about his sister which he has circulated.

Milissa Dalby, who was her best friend through all of their childhood when Ms Smith lived at Shipley in West Yorkshire, said: “She is the kindest person I know and would do anything for anyone. Please, if anyone knows anything at all about Leanne’s disappearance, then please let the police know.

“And ‘Le’ if you’re reading this please please get in touch with someone, just let us know you are okay as we are worried sick.”

Ms Smith was last seen wearing a blue coat, carrying a handbag and has black shoulder-length hair in a ponytail.

Police say she has links to the Nottingham area.

Cumbria Police have appealed for anyone who has seen Ms Smith, or who can help with their enquiries, to contact them by calling 101.

Officers would also like to urge Ms Smith to contact this number if she sees this appeal.