THE BODY of an elderly man has been found in rural farmland between Burnley and Pendle.

Police said they were investigating whether the body was that of Jessie Shaw, 83, who went missing three weeks ago.

Although a formal identification has yet to be made, Jessie’s daughter, Julie Shaw, said she was ‘convinced’ it was her dad.

She said a lifelong friend of her father made the discovery while out hunting in fields close to Higham on Saturday lunchtime.

It has provoked mixed feelings in Julie, who said she was both ‘relieved’ and ‘deeply upset’ at the same time.

She said the family has been ‘comforted’ by the fact that one of her dad’s friends found the body.

Jessie, who has Alzheimer’s, was last seen leaving his home of 18 years in Ingham Street at around 4.30pm on October 17.

Following his disappearance, police, family and friends, all combed the East Lancashire countryside as part of a massive search.

Julie said she was informed of the discovery by the family of the man who found the body on Saturday.

Despite having no official confirmation that it is that of her dad, she said she was ‘99.9 per cent sure’ it was him.

She said: “It’s our dad. He had the same clothing on that he was wearing when he disappeared.

"The person who found him used to be our milkman and has known my dad for 50 years and he said he thought it was him as well.

“When I heard the news I just broke down and felt such pain that I could not speak, but after the initial shock I felt relieved.

“I’m very upset and still distraught, but I am relieved that he has been found.

"It’s a weird feeling. There are still so many questions.”

Julie, 44, said Jessie’s other children, Sandra Heyworth, 41, Steven Shaw, 45, and Mark Shaw, 47, had given up hope of finding him alive.

But she said they were ‘comforted’ because the discovery was made by a family friend.

Julie, a property developer, of Clowbridge, said: “I said to my sister that I was so glad somebody who knew him found him.”

The large three week-long search for Jessie has included efforts by the mountain rescue team and air ambulance.

Members of the search party have been out on quad bikes in the area where the body was discovered but had not found anything.

According to Julie, her dad was familiar with the area, where he would pick mushrooms and go walking with his German Shepherd, Sasha.

She said the family had visited the ‘isolated’ spot yesterday and now plan to put up a plaque nearby and plant a conifer in his memory.

Jessie, who had suffered from Alzheimer’s for four years, spent all his life in Padiham and worked down the pits before starting his own window cleaning business.

In his younger days he also played for Padiham Football Club.

He was well known in the town and used to drink in The Britannia and the Labour Club.

The body is expected to be formally identified later today.