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British backpacker found alive.

Byline: ROSASILVERMAN

Bush survivor Jamie Neale said thinking about his mother kept him going through the 12 day ordeal when he was missing.

The British backpacker was found yesterday by two walkers in the Australian bush, almost two weeks after he went missing during a walk in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales.

His mother Jean Neale spoke to the 19-year-old by telephone today in his hospital bed.

"He said to me 'All I wanted to do was hear your voice'," she said.

"He said that thinking of me helped him get through this ordeal.

"He was worried about me and how I would take the news."

Ms Neale, 49, from Muswell Hill, north London, said: "I never gave up hope. You never give up hope on your children until someone actually proves to you differently. As far as I was concerned he was coming home."

Mr Neale left the UK on June 20 and headed to Australia as the first stop on a trip that was due to include Laos, Vietnam and Nepal.

He was due back in September but had planned to squeeze in a three week trip to Russia before starting a government and politics degree at Exeter University in October.

His mother said: "If he goes travelling again, we are going to get him one of those watches with a beacon on so we can pick him up.

"He's not leaving the country without one next time."

The trip was the first time that Jamie had been travelling, his mother said.

Jamie worked part-time as a lab technician to save for the adventure but got lost after visiting the Blue Mountains near Sydney.

The alarm was raised at the youth hostel he was staying in after he failed to return.

He was eventually found by backpackers after surviving for days on nothing but seeds, leaves and lettuce-like plants.

His mother said she had been very concerned about him encountering dangerous animals while lost.

She explained: "One of the first things I asked was if he had run into any poisonous snakes or animals.

"But luckily it's winter over there now and most of the dangerous snakes are hibernating."

"There's quite a few lessons he would have learned, when you are young and you are out there and there's so much to see I don't suppose you really think."

Mr Neale was seen leaving his hostel in the town of Katoomba, New South Wales, for a walk in the Blue Mountains at 9.40am on July 3. He was reported missing when he failed to turn up for a pre-booked tour of some nearby caves the following day.

His room was searched and police found he had left his passport and mobile phone behind.

His anxious father Richard Cass flew to Australia a week ago to join the search. He had given up hope and was waiting at the airport to fly home this morning when he received a text message from police.

"It said 'Phone me, I've got good news'. The words 'good news' told me everything. That was when I knew he was safe," he said.

Mr Cass told reporters that he had held a "little closure ceremony" and lit a candle in the park to say goodbye because he was convinced his son would not be found.

"He's come back from the dead," he said.

"I'm just so pleased to see him. "It's fantastic."

Father and son had an emotional reunion at Katoomba's Blue Mountains Hospital where Mr Neale is being treated for dehydration and exposure.

CAPTION(S):

after he was found alive after being lost for 12 days on a bush walk in the Blue Mountains National Park.
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Geographic Code:8AUST
Date:Jul 16, 2009
Words:616
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