Christian Life 

Search for Alison MacDonald on iPlayer

Alison MacDonaldAlison MacDonald is the daughter, one of the four children, of (Rev.) Kenny MacDonald and his wife Reta. She went missing 28 years ago whilst backpacking with a friend in Kashmir in 1981. A (sub-titled) Gaelic TV programme covering the family's story is now available on-line.

Since she went missing, Alison's parents have never given up hope since then of finding her - and remain convinced that she is still alive. At the time of her disappearance Kenny, then studying to be a minister at the Free Church College in Edinburgh, immediately went to Kashmir to look for his daughter. Yet despite mounting the biggest search ever seen in the area — together with a massive publicity campaign back home — no trace of Alison was ever found. However the search has continued over the years with a total of 17 visits to Kashmir.

Kenny and Reta MacDonaldThe documentary which was screened on  BBC Alba tells why Kenny and Reta remain dedicated to the search for their daughter, and explained why they believe that Alison may have been kidnapped. In 2007, a tape recording of Syed Salahuddin - a prominent Kashmiri rebel leader - came to light, and appeared to feature him speaking English with a Scottish accent, prompting suggestions that he may have been taught by Alison. In response Interpol asked Indian authorities to re-open inquiries after the wanted Islamic terrorist appeared to be speaking in a Scottish dialect and phrases in a broadcast to his followers.

Rosskeen Church
Rosskeen Free ChurchAfter entering the ministry, Kenny settled in Easter Ross as minister at Rosskeen Free Church between Alness and Invergordon. Over the years the MacDonalds have strived in continuing efforts to track down those who met Alison in Kashmir, and in meeting people who claimed they could find her for a reward.

Kenny is now 74 years old and retired from pastoral ministry, but even suffering from multiple sclerosis and with much failing eyesight the search goes on - even being prepared to return to Kashmir if new clues or fresh information were to emerge. A man of deep Christian conviction he has said:

"I can't imagine life without faith - it would just be impossible. "There is a power which exists that is higher than ourselves, and though we don't understand everything, we must take good things out of everything. God enables us to do everything we should do. "Everything that happens is His will."

"Sgeul Athair: A Father's Story" has been described as "the account of a family's deep faith, determination and courage in the face of overwhelming odds." It's a highly poignant account of how one family, with the support of many praying people but supremely wit the help of God, have responded to such a trauma in their lives. It's very moving and humbling to watch.

The programme which was broadcast on Monday 19 January "tells the story of a family that has never given up hope". It contains both Gaelic (with subtitles) and English language, and can be viewed on the BBC iPlayer.

BBC Alba is available on Sky channel 168 and on Freesat channel 10.

Christians Together, 22/01/2009

Mary Montgomery, Lewis (Guest) 03/03/2009 18:43
I have read the story of the search for Alison and traced in myself, as far as I am able, the faith and feeling it contains so often that it seems at times I have myself become bound to its significance, and to the impact it has made - as if the space she occupied while she was among us remains always vacant, just awaiting her return.
And because I so firmly believe that Jesus stands forever between us and the devastation of merciless destruction - of spirit, of person, whichever - I share Kenny's and Reta's belief that she must still be alive - for, otherwise, the Lord would have sent Christ to comfort them in a quiet revelation of, and for, grief. He would not, I feel sure, leave, or have left them, without a renewal of His Message. Therefore, what is left is, still and yet, Hope. Which cannot be - without Foundation.
Kind thoughts,
PS One of the most intimate passages in Quentin MacFarlane's book reveals not just the harrowing of the emotions of Kenny's heart, but their strength - and therefore the strength of where they are contained, that same heart: "Doesn't anyone know it's Alison who's lost - not just any person but Alison, my Alison. What a great pal of mine, she was so nice. I know she had had moods when she was younger but she knew about that and fought against them. What a great description Liz gave the police: happy, religious - deeply so, strong, no silliness; woold not smoke or drink or go with any man. Very strong. Good, naturally, at judo. Och, whats the use. She's gone now. I wish, oh, I wish it was me. She had so much to offer."
relevantlink (Guest) 20/12/2010 05:23
from A 2007 interview of Syed Salahudin.

Shahnawaz Khan: This question is different. It is about a British lady Alison Macdonald who went missing in Sonamarg area of Kashmir in 1981. Based on what they call your Skye, Scottish accent,
her parents recently expressed suspicions that you may have been in touch with her and involved in her abduction?
Syed Salahudin: That is ridiculous. The Hizbul Mujahideen came into existence in 1989, and the lady went missing in 1981. There is no logic to the accusation.

Shahnawaz Khan: Her father is actually accusing you personally, based on what they call your Scottish Skye accent. He says that you may have been involved in her abduction?

Syed Salahudin: What her father says is just a supposition. I cannot help it. He may have been misled be some Indian propaganda. I can only say that Indian agencies have been misleading the people into believing that militants were abducting tourists in Kashmir that too before the emergence of armed resistance. That is only to destabilise the tourism industry of Kashmir. Again the person is accusing the Hizb of a crime in 1981, which itself was born in 1989. Secondly even in the 20 years of our existence as a militant group we have never carried any abductions. We do not believe in abductions.

Shahnawaz Khan: Do you know the lady. Have you even been in touch with her?

Syed Salahudin: No not at all. I have never seen her. And why should I be clarifying on all this. Why don’t you understand that Hizbul Mujahideen was born in 1989.

Rosemary Sloggett (Ross) (Guest) 18/05/2014 20:58
I would like to get in contact with Reta. We were nurses
together in Glasgow in the 1950s
Duncan (Guest) 18/05/2014 21:19
Hi Rosemary if you email me on I`ll give you Reta`s number

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