The last woman to speak to Jane Longhurst before her disappearance spoke last night of her heartache.

Cynthia Eraut talked to the teacher and fellow musician last Friday morning, just hours before she vanished.

She said: "Jane sounded absolutely normal and cheerful. Very upbeat.

"I said I would see her on Sunday at the rehearsal and she said yes. There was absolutely nothing to suggest anything was wrong.

"That may have been the last contact anyone had with her.

"We are all desperately hoping for the best. All we want is for her to turn up safe and well."

Jane, 31, a viola player with the Musicians of All Saints (MAS) in Lewes, called Miss Eraut to tell her she had placed an advertisement in a local newspaper regarding the MAS's next concert.

Mrs Eraut said the MAS had agonised over whether to continue with the event but Miss Longhurst would have wanted them to go ahead.

The concert is at the All Saints Centre tomorrow evening and MAS members and friends are praying Miss Longhurst will show up.

More than 40 detectives are working on the disappearance and there are fears she may have been abducted.

Miss Eraut, from Lewes, said: "Jane is very happy and a popular member, very lively and attractive."

She said Jane and her partner, Malcolm Sentance, who also play the viola, "seemed at ease and happy together".

She said: "Malcolm telephoned to tell us Jane was missing and they would not be at rehearsal. He was distraught.

"Jane never missed a concert or a rehearsal. She is a very positive, confident and dedicated person and musician. No one can see her walking away from her life.

"We are all in a state of shock. We don't bear to think what may have happened to her. But she is not a wimp. She is a strong, positive character. She would fight back.

"We all feel terribly sad for her, her family and Malcolm. All of us are feeling for her."

Jane, of Shaftesbury Road, Brighton, is a teacher at Uplands School for children with learning difficulties.

Mr Sentance last night continued his desperate search for her.

He scoured parts of Brighton putting up posters about her and searching places she used to visit.

Mr Sentance, 34, said as the hours ticked by, he was getting more desperate.

He said: "I have put posters up near our flat and through The Lanes. I have been to some of the places I think she might have been. What else can In do?"

Mr Sentance, an educational welfare officer, spent yesterday morning in Preston Park with members of his family and friends.

He said: "The police need a lead and they have chosen to start at the flat. That is all right because they have to do their job but it is very stressful.

"I think they are looking for spots of blood, signs of a struggle or DNA from known criminals."

Mr Sentance and Jane had been together for four years after music brought them together.

He said: "We met through the Sussex Symphony Orchestra and the Sussex University Orchestra."

The day Jane disappeared was like any other.

He said: "She always had Fridays off and never wasted the day by lounging around. She would get up early, plan her schoolwork, tidy the flat, play her viola or go to the gym.

"When I came home, the computer was on and the stereo too, I think. The window was open. We were thinking of moving to Hove, or possibly Bath or Bristol so she might have been researching houses on the internet.

"I had no inkling anything was wrong until about 6pm when I hadn't heard from her."

He and Jane had planned to paint a wall at their flat last weekend and he thought she may have gone to buy paint last Friday.

Mark Andrew James, conductor of the orchestra, said he and his colleagues were shocked at her disappearance.

He said: "Jane is delightful. Very bright, softly spoken but quite gregarious. She has been with us for about seven years and has lots of friends here."

Anyone with information concerning her whereabouts should contact Brighton and Hove police on 0845 6070999.