The purpose of this site is for information and a record of Gerry McCann's Blog Archives. As most people will appreciate GM deleted all past blogs from the official website. Hopefully this Archive will be helpful to anyone who is interested in Justice for Madeleine Beth McCann. Many Thanks, Pamalam

Note: This site does not belong to the McCanns. It belongs to Pamalam. If you wish to contact the McCanns directly, please use the contact/email details campaign@findmadeleine.com    

3-Three Years: Appeal Video & Services *

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The new photo showing Madeleine in blue eyeshadow

The McCanns release a new appeal video containing an image of Madeleine wearing blue eyeshadow.

Maddie plays dressing-up, weeks before she vanished: McCanns fly back to Portugal in bid to reopen case - and release new picture, 01 May 2010
Maddie plays dressing-up, weeks before she vanished: McCanns fly back to Portugal in bid to reopen case - and release new picture Daily Mail

By DANIEL BATES
Last updated at 10:12 PM on 1st May 2010


Kate and Gerry McCann have released a new picture of their daughter Madeleine as they prepare to commemorate tomorrow’s third anniversary of her disappearance.

The photo shows her when she was three after a raid on the dressing-up box – she has a pink bow in her hair and a gold bead necklace and is wearing blue eyeshadow.

It was taken weeks before the fateful family holiday to the Portuguese resort of Praia da Luz when Madeleine vanished. She had been left sleeping with her younger twin siblings, Sean and Amelie, on May 3, 2007.

Last week her parents returned to Portugal to put pressure on the police to renew their investigation, which was dropped in July 2008, and released the photo and a new video in the hope of triggering new leads in the search for their daughter, who would now be six.

The new photo showing Madeleine in blue eyeshadow

Having fun: The new photo showing Madeleine in blue eyeshadow, beads and


The couple, both 42-year-old doctors from Rothley, Leicestershire, said their three-man team of private detectives hunting for Madeleine had discovered leads in police case files which had previously been dismissed.

In an interview with a Portuguese newspaper, Mr McCann said: 'There are leads, clues which weren't investigated. That information has been sent to the authorities.

'We know that one of the leads was followed up and eliminated, and another was considered irrelevant. We don't agree. I'm not saying we have somebody who saw Madeleine. But clues lead to other clues and we have to convince the police to investigate them.'

The couple, who will spend tomorrow with friends, would not give more details of the leads they want followed up, saying that could hinder the investigation.

Mr McCann added: 'We are going to call for the case to be reopened. Can it be done? It can. Will it be done? I don't know.'

Kate and Gerry McCann, the parents of missing Madeleine pictured in Leicester

Kate and Gerry McCann, the parents of missing Madeleine pictured in Leicester ahead of the third anniversary of their daughter's disappearance while on holiday in Portugal.



A short film released by the couple yesterday shows some of their efforts to find their missing child over the past three years, from handing out posters in Portugal to chasing up leads from their home.

The film closes with the message: 'Thank you for not giving up on Madeleine. Together we can bring her home.'

Today the McCanns will join worshippers at their local Catholic church, despite Mr McCann admitting that over the months his belief in God has faltered. The couple have also told how Sean and Amelie had been talking about Madeleine.

Mr McCann said: 'Sean talks all the time about finding Maddie and what he will do to the person who stole her.

'They know they went to sleep and when they woke up she had disappeared. But they still don't understand that somebody took her.

'When they become aware of this I think they will want to know where we were. And we will have to explain to them that we were having dinner in the restaurant next door.'

The couple said their three-man team of private detectives hunting for Madeleine had discovered leads in police case files which had previously been dismissed

The couple said their three-man team of private detectives hunting for Madeleine had discovered leads in police case files which had previously been dismissed


www.findmadeleine.com

Find Madeleine Investigation telephone number 0845 838 4699

Video marks Madeleine disappearance, 02 May 2010
Video marks Madeleine disappearance The Press Association

UKPA - 02 May 2010, 00:30 AM

Gerry and Kate McCann are hoping to put the focus back on the search for their daughter Madeleine with a new video released to mark the third anniversary of her disappearance.

The short film shows the couple pursuing attempts to find their missing child over the past three years, from handing out posters in Portugal to chasing up leads from their home in Rothley, Leicestershire.

It includes a new photograph of a grown up-looking Madeleine wearing blue eyeshadow accompanied with a pink bow in her hair and a gold bead necklace.

The video, produced by family friend Jon Corner, was originally shown at a fund-raising event in London in January to mark the 1,000th day since the little girl's disappearance.

With the Dido song "Here With Me" as a soundtrack, it begins with a computer graphic of the holiday complex in Praia da Luz in the Algarve where Madeleine vanished on May 3 2007.

It goes on to show Mr and Mrs McCann in and around Praia da Luz in the early days after their daughter went missing as they kick-started a campaign to find her.

There are also scenes of the couple answering telephone calls and sifting through emails back in Britain.

The film closes with the message: "Thank you for not giving up on Madeleine. Together we can bring her home."

McCann family spokesman Clarence Mitchell said: "The video is designed to remind people that the search for Madeleine is ongoing. Just because she's not in the headlines every day doesn't mean nothing is being done. Kate and Gerry are still devoting a large part of their daily lives to the search."

:: Information about Madeleine's disappearance can be passed to the McCanns through their website, www.findmadeleine.com, or by calling their investigation line on 0845 838 4699.

Images of Madeleine chosen for new appeal video, 01 May 2010

Madeleine McCann

Madeleine McCann

Madeleine McCann

McCann twins vow: We'll rescue Maddie, 02 May 2010
McCann twins vow: We'll rescue Maddie Daily Star Sunday

Kate and Gerry McCann

By Jonathan Corke
2nd May 2010

KATE and Gerry McCann have revealed how their twins have vowed to rescue missing ­sister Madeleine from her abduction hell.


Speaking ahead of the third anniversary of her disappearance, the couple said Sean and Amelie, five, talk about "getting swords to get the man who has got her".

The McCanns also released a video on their hunt for Madeleine, which includes a new "grown-up" picture of the youngster.

The snap – taken weeks before Madeleine vanished – shows her wearing blue eyeshadow accompanied with a pink bow in her hair and a gold bead necklace.

And the McCanns, from Rothley, Leics, who travelled to Portugal last week to ask authorities to re-open the investigation into her disappearance, hope its release will spark new information on the case.

It is three years ago tomorrow that the then three-year-old vanished from the family’s holiday apartment in Praia da Luz, Portugal.

Doctors Kate and Gerry said: "Madeleine is still out there and the person who committed this crime is still out there as well. There are a lot of children who do come back...we have to keep going."

And they revealed how Sean and Amelie are determined to help the hunt for Madeleine, who will turn seven next week.

Kate, 42, said: "Sean said to me once, just as I was putting him to bed – it was out of the blue. He said, 'Never give up, mummy'.

"I just said, 'Don't worry, Seany, I won't do that. None of us will'."

And Gerry, 41, added: "They talk about rescuing her and getting swords to get the man who's got her.

"Sean talks all the time about finding Maddie and what he will do to the person who stole her."

The new video – which can be viewed from tomorrow on findmadeleine.com – shows the couple handing out posters and chasing up new leads in the case.

Information about Madeleine's disappearance can be passed to the McCanns through their website or by calling their investigation line on 0845 838 4699.

McCanns: We get our strength from twins, 02 May 2010
McCanns: We get our strength from twins Sunday Mirror

By Justin Penrose
2/05/2010

Kate McCann has revealed her five-year-old son gave her the hope to carry on searching for Madeleine, telling her: "Never give up, Mummy."

She explained: "Sean said to me once, just as I was putting him to bed, it was out of the blue, he said, 'never give up, Mummy'.

"I just said, 'don't worry, Seany, I won't do that. None of us will'."

In an interview to mark the third anniversary of their daughter's disappearance, the McCanns, of Rothley, Leics, also released a new picture of Madeleine from a family video. The missing girl, who would now be nearly seven, is seen with blue eye shadow and wearing a gold bead chain.

Kate, 42, revealed Sean and twin Amelie pick up on talk of Madeleine, who vanished from Praia da Luz, Portugal, on May 3, 1997.

"Last night at bedtime they were talking about Madeleine and saying she probably looks quite different now. Amelie said, 'Mummy, she might speak another language'."

Dad Gerry, 42, said: "It's important they know we're devoting a lot of time to Madeleine. They talk about rescuing her and getting swords to get the man who's got her. They're amazing."

"They know they went to sleep, woke up and she had disappeared. But they still don't understand somebody took her. When they do they will want to know where we were. We'll have to explain we were having dinner in the restaurant next door."

Comment: Page 14

Hope for a miracle, 02 May 2010
Hope for a miracle Sunday Mirror

2/05/2010

It's hard to believe it will have been three years tomorrow since Madeleine McCann disappeared.

Parents Kate and Gerry have worked tirelessly to find out what happened to her. So it's poignant when their five-year-old son Sean tells them not to give up hope - as they never will. Neither should we.

Mark Williams-Thomas questions the 'appropriateness' of the new Madeleine photo, 02 May 2010
Mark Williams-Thomas questions the 'appropriateness' of the new Madeleine photo Twitter

 
mwttwitter, 02 May 2010

By Mark Williams-Thomas
2nd May 2010


* On the eve of Madeleine's disappearance I agree with the release of a new photo but question the appropriateness of the photo chosen
1:09 AM May 2nd via UberTwitter

* Have not yet seen the new Madeleine video but the photograph is so inappropriate & damaging on so many levels-ill advised again
1:46 AM May 2nd via UberTwitter

* Am trying to find out now who gave advise to use the make up photo- so damaging- as I know what it will become
1:51 AM May 2nd via UberTwitter

Later update:

 
mwttwitter, 02 May 2010

* No response yet re who advised of the use of recent photo of Madeleine- as soon as I get a response will let u know
11:00 AM May 2nd via UberTwitter

Updates, 02 May 2010
Updates: findmadeleine.com

 
findmadeleine.com update, 02 May 2010

Website Update: Third Anniversary

Thank you to everyone who has stayed with us during the past three years – hoping, praying and supporting our efforts to find Madeleine and bring her home. We know we couldn't have achieved as much as we have without this help.

Milestones and anniversaries are never easy, but the work to find our little Madeleine will continue regardless, with the same determination and tenacity as it always has and for as long as it takes.

It might be three years without Madeleine but it certainly doesn't feel like we're at the end of the line - far from it.

Madeleine. Still missing, still missed, still looking!

McCanns issue new Maddie pic, 02 May 2010
McCanns issue new Maddie pic The Sun

Prayers ... the McCann's remembered Madeleine today nearly three years after she disappeared
Prayers ... the McCann's remembered Madeleine today nearly three years after she disappeared

By ANTONELLA LAZZERI
Published: 02 May 2010


MADELAINE McCann's family attended a special church service today to mark the third anniversary of her disappearance.


They also released a new picture of the missing girl as they renewed their appeal for information on her whereabouts.

Her little sister Amelie, five, wore a yellow ribbon in her hair - a symbol worn in memory of missing people - and a kiddie's version of the yellow and green Find Madeleine wristbands that both her parents wear

Madeleine was nearly four when she disappeared in May 2007 while on holiday in Portugal with her family.

Today's service, the day before the actual anniversary, came as a video renewing the appeal to find Madeleine was released on the McCann's website.

Amelia, holding the hand of dad Gerry, 41, smiled as she marched into the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Rothley, Leicestershire, where her sister used to attend Sunday morning school.

Mum Kate, 41, walked to the church, near the family's home, holding the hand of Amelie's twin brother Sean.

Special prayers were said during the service for Maddie and other missing children around the world.

The couple received hugs from the congregation after the service finished.

They are expected to spend tomorrow in private at home.

Madeleine was snatched from a holiday apartment in Praia da Luz, Portugal, on May 3rd 2007. She would now be six.

This weekend her parents posted a message on their 'Find Madeleine' website saying they would never give up searching for her.

Thanking their supporters they said: "Thanks to everyone who has stayed with us during the past three years - hoping, praying and supporting our efforts to find Madeleine and bring her home."

They added: " We know we couldn't have achieved as much as we have without this help.

"Milestones and anniversaries are never easy, but the work to find our little Madeleine will continue regardless, with the same determination and tenacity as it always has and for as long as it takes.

"It might be three years without Madeleine but it certainly doesn't feel like we're at the end of the line - far from it. Madeleine. Still missing, still missed, still looking!"

They also posted a haunting video on the website which includes new photos of Maddie.

They iinclude one of her playing dressing up wearing blue eye-shadow and a pink bow in her hair and footage of mum Kate distributing posters begging for information about her missing daughter.

Kate told earlier this week how the twins have been talking about Maddie - who turns seven in ten days - saying: "At bedtime they were talking about Madeleine and saying she probably looks quite different now.

"Amelie said 'Mummy, she might speak another language.' And Sean said to me, out of the blue 'Never give up, Mummy.' I just said 'Don't worry, I won't do that. None of us will.' "



Note: Errors in text appear in the original

 
Sun error

 
Sun error

McCanns pray for missing daughter Madeleine as they mark third anniversary of her disappearance, 03 May 2010
McCanns pray for missing daughter Madeleine as they mark third anniversary of her disappearance Daily Mail

By VANESSA ALLEN
Last updated at 1:43 AM on 3rd May 2010


Madeleine McCann's anguished parents prayed for their missing daughter yesterday as they prepared to mark the third anniversary of her disappearance.

Kate and Gerry McCann attended a Mass at their local church with their five-year-old twins Sean and Amelie, ahead of today's sad anniversary.

The couple released new family photographs of Madeleine at the weekend, showing the three-year-old playing at dressing up in blue eyeshadow and a pink hairband.

The McCann's attend a Mass at their local church with their five-year-old twins Sean and Amelie

Prayers: The McCann's attend a Mass at their local church with their five-year-old twins Sean and Amelie, ahead of the third anniversary of Madeleine's disappearance


Mrs McCann, 42, clasped hands with her twins as they walked to church in their home town of Rothley, Leicestershire.

The family wore yellow and green 'Find Madeleine' wristbands and released a short film on their website, showing their ongoing search for the missing schoolgirl.

Mr McCann, 41, and his wife looked drained as they prepared to face today's anniversary, which they have said they will mark in private.

Madeleine vanished during a family holiday in the Portuguese resort of Praia da Luz, on May 3, 2007.

Her parents believe she was abducted from their rented holiday apartment while they ate dinner with friends at a nearby restaurant.

They told last week how they had explained Madeleine's disappearance to her brother and sister, telling the youngsters that a 'naughty man' stole the schoolgirl.

Police forces around the world have followed up thousands of leads and possible sightings of the little girl, but there have been no confirmed sightings since her disappearance.

The McCanns travelled back to Portugal last week to ask police to reopen their investigation, which was shelved in July 2008, when the couple were formally cleared as suspects.

The couple have spearheaded a high-profile search to find their daughter, but have told of their frustration that no police force is actively looking for Madeleine.

In a poignant message to her daughter, Mrs McCann said: 'We love you very much, Madeleine, and we're not going to stop what we're doing.'

  •  Information about Madeleine's disappearance can be passed to the McCanns through their website, www.findmadeleine.com, or by calling their investigation line on 0845 838 4699 (corr).
  • Three Years Later: Where's Madeleine McCann? 03 May 2010
    Three Years Later: Where's Madeleine McCann? CBS News

    Parents Say Portuguese Police Not Following Up on New Leads; Criminal Profiler Pat Brown: Girl Should Have Been Seen By Now

    May 2, 2010

    (CBS) 
    This is the third anniversary of the disappearance of young British girl Madeleine McCann, who vanished from her family's holiday resort in Portugal in May 2007. She was three at the time.

    But, in spite of a huge international police operation, there are still no real leads on what might have happened to Madeleine, according to CBS News correspondent Elizabeth Palmer

    Over the years, there have been hundreds of supposed sightings of Madeleine, but not one of them has panned out. Her parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, still hope she'll one day be found alive and have released a new video to mark the anniversary.

    The video's focus is the McCanns' search for their daughter. Palmer says the family has long been handing out posters and photos, combing the Internet, and responding to tips from the public.

    The couple has also spoken out in an interview on Portuguese TV about what they observed the night Madeleine was last seen.

    Kate McCann said, "The shutters, which had been down all week, when I went in and there was the gust that blew the curtains open, that's when I noticed that the shutter had been pulled up."

    On the night of May 3, 2007, the McCanns left their three children sleeping in the family's vacation condo, and went to dinner at a restaurant 100 yards away.

    Around 10:00 p.m., when Kate McCann went to check on the children, she found Madeleine was gone.

    The McCanns have dismissed a theory that she wandered off. They are convinced she was abducted.

    Gerry said in the recently released video, "If you're saying is it theoretically possible that Madeleine left the apartment? Then yes. Do we believe it -- and do we believe she was capable of leaving the apartment the way it was found -- then I would say absolutely not."

    Since 2007, several photos of Madeleine have been widely publicized. One shows her distinctive right eye, and another is a projection of how she might look two years on.

    The McCanns say they will ask the Portuguese police to re-open the investigation into Madeline's disappearance to follow up what they say are new leads uncovered by private investigators hired by the McCann family.

    Pat Brown, a criminal profiler, said on "The Early Show" Monday that a combination of factors has contributed to where things stand in the McCann case.

    "(One theory) was that the child was abducted. And another theory was that she died in the apartment, and this, of course, is the theory the McCanns aren't too happy about. And they don't want that one out there," Brown said.

    "And so they're still angry at the Portuguese police. And this is one thing I don't think they should bring up at this point in time. After three years when they're looking to get the cooperation of the police, it's not the time to say, 'You're not following up our leads.' And they also mentioned that it's possible they aren't following up the leads because they don't want the child to be found alive, because that would be embarrassing. Not what you want to say. You want to keep it positive and ask for somebody's help and not bring anything negative into the conversation."

    As for the McCanns' supposed leads, Brown said she hasn't heard of any actually getting anywhere.

    "Ever since the very beginning, when they have believed that the private investigators had great leads that weren't being followed up on, I never saw that they panned out to be anything. And they're saying that there's other leads that aren't being followed up, and I don't know what those are, and I don't think anybody really does. I don't know what leads they could be finding at this point in time."

    Brown added, if the McCanns are innocent of any wrongdoing, they will continue to search for Madeleine.

    "They're always going to believe their child is out there. That would be normal for any parent whose child has gone missing. They're not going to give up on her. So they're doing the right thing in the sense that they're trying to keep her in the public eye."

    However, Brown added, "Quite frankly, this child has been seen everywhere. I mean, as far as missing children go, she's one of the most publicized missing children in the world. So that's one of the most unusual things about this: With her picture out as much as it's been out there, she would have to be pretty well hidden for her not to have shown up at this point."

    If you have information on Madeleine McCann's disappearance, visit
    FindMadeleine.com.

    Liverpool offers prayers for missing Madeleine McCann on third anniversary, 03 May 2010
    Liverpool offers prayers for missing Madeleine McCann on third anniversary Click Liverpool

    Liverpool prayer service, 03 May 2010

    Liverpool prayer service, 03 May 2010

    Susan and Brian Healy

    Liverpool prayer service, 03 May 2010

    By Natalie Evans
    Published Mon 03 May 2010 19:53


    Prayers have been offered for missing Madeleine McCann on the third anniversary of her disappearance.

    Friends and well-wishers joined Madeleine's family at Liverpool born Kate McCann's parish church of Our Lady of the Annunciation Bishop Eton, in Woolton, for a special service on Monday evening.

    Madeleine's parents, Kate and Gerry, and her five-year-old twin siblings Amelie and Sean were unable to attend the service but grandparents, Brian and Susan Healy, who live in the Mossley Hill area of the city, were greeted by supporters.

    More than 200 people attended the hour long service, which was led by Parish Priest Fr Desmond Keegan.

    The congregation sang hymns and lit candles for Madeleine, whose picture was displayed at the back of the church.

    Blonde Maddie was nearly four when she went missing from an apartment during a family holiday in the Portuguese resort of Praia da Luz on the Algarve on 3rd May 2007.

    Next week marks the little girl's seventh birthday, which falls on 12th May.

    Our twins keep gifts for Maddie, 03 May 2010
    Our twins keep gifts for Maddie The Sun

    By ANTONELLA LAZZERI
    Published: 03 May 2010


    MADELEINE McCann's devastated parents have revealed how their young twins still keep presents to give to the missing youngster when she returns home.

    Gerry and Kate McCann said five-year-olds Sean and Amelie often speak about finding "the bad man" who abducted their sister.

    In an emotional interview to a Spanish TV station on the third anniversary of Madeleine's disappearance, Gerry McCann, said today: "Often they say to us 'the bad man has taken her. I want to find the bad man. I'm going to look for the bad man. I'm going to fly and find him'.

    "They're good kids. They keep presents for Madeleine, chocolates, and they say things like 'let's keep a slice for Madeleine.'

    "They're always talking about what they're going to do when she comes home."

    Kate, 42, added: "One day I was in the bedroom putting them to bed and Amelie said to me 'I think Madeleine will come home very soon.'"

    The couple spoke to Spanish TV reporter Concha Garcia Campoy at their home in Rothley, Leics, for daytime show Las Mananas de Cuatro.

    Kate told how they explained to the twins how Madeleine had been abducted.

    She said: "We talk to them about everything to do with Madeleine. We were told by a child psychologist just to let them ask us questions and to answer all their questions honestly.

    "Initially they asked where Madeleine was and we told them she had got lost.

    "Then one day Amelie asked me 'did Madeleine run away? Because it's not nice to run away.'

    "That bothered me, because I don't want my children to think Madeleine was at fault in any way.

    "In the end I told her somebody took her. At the same time we didn't want to scare them so we explained the abduction to them saying that if they want something, you can't just take it if it's not yours.

    "And they understood it was if she had been stolen."

    On Sunday Gerry and Kate prayed for their missing daughter at a mass at their local church with the twins.

    They wore yellow and green "Find Madeleine" wristbands and released a new photograph to encourage people to keep looking for their daughter.

    Gerry, 41, told the TV programme: "I don't think it will ever be the same for us. There are fundamental changes, Kate doesn't practice medicine any more, she spends most of her time in things related to Madeleine, the campaign, and in looking after the kids.

    "We've been through things that nobody should ever have to go through. But we've got a very strong relationship."

    He added: "I had a special daddy bond with her (Madeleine). When the twins were put to bed she would stay with us, watching television. I got to sit with her as she enjoyed a treat, a glass of milk with some biscuits.

    "She's great, good fun. She always asked me to chase after her in the garden. She was a fast little girl, very athletic, with a lot of energy."

    Kate said: "It's hard to switch off. I'm quite consumed with trying to find Madeleine."

    Madeleine was days short of her fourth birthday when she disappeared during a family holiday in Praia da Luz, on the Algarve, on May 3 2007.

    Her parents have always believed she was abducted from their rented holiday flat while they were eating dinner with a group of friends at a nearby restaurant.

    They travelled to Portugal last week to ask the authorities to reopen the investigation into Madeleine's disappearance.

    They believe Portuguese police have not properly followed up all the leads thrown up during the investigation.

    Can the McCanns be thinking straight?, 04 May 2010
    Can the McCanns be thinking straight? The Independent

    By Terence Blacker
    Tuesday, 4 May 2010

    Three years have passed since the disappearance of Madeleine McCann and her parents are determined that the search for her should not slip out of the world's headlines. To keep the story alive, they have just released a moody video, complete with a musical soundtrack, which includes a photograph of the three-year-old wearing make-up and gazing into the camera. It is that image which, predictably, has featured in the media.

    It seems a bizarre and unsettling development. Clearly, Kate and Gerry McCann have been living through a nightmare of unimaginable horror and perhaps, even after three years, they are not thinking straight. If so, someone should surely have pointed out to them that, in a case over which paedophilia casts an obvious shadow, it looks downright weird when a photograph which has the effect of sexualising the missing child becomes part of the campaign to find her.

    Obviously, the make-up game and the photograph were innocent at the time but, when the private picture is released into the public domain in these circumstances, something altogether nastier kicks in.

    What was the point of this exercise, apart from getting more news coverage? At a time when there is justified concern over Primark selling Little Miss Naughty padded bras for eight-year-olds and allegations that Playboy brands are being aimed at the primary school market, the circulation of this can only feed prurience of the very worst kind.

    Maybe it was a misjudgement, but it confirms a niggling sense that the McCanns' publicity–at-all-costs campaign has seriously lost its way.

    Special Mass in Childwall on third anniversary of Madeleine McCann's disappearance, 04 May 2010
    Special Mass in Childwall on third anniversary of Madeleine McCann’s disappearance Liverpool Echo

    By Ben Rossington
    May 4 2010

    PRAYERS were said for Madeleine McCann in her grandparents' church on the third anniversary of her disappearance.

    There was standing room only in Our Lady of the Annunciation, Bishop Eton, in Childwall, last night for a special Mass.

    It was attended by Madeleine's grandparents Sue and Brian Healy, of Mossley Hill, who sat on the front row as those who came to pray and offer support filled the benches behind.

    Father Desmond Keegan, the parish priest, took the service.

    He told the congregation he had recently been re-reading a book he first read in school, the children's classic Moonfleet, by J. Meade Faulkner, in which the hero, John Trenchard, set out for adventures on the high seas.

    In it, Trenchard's love at home, Grace Maskew, keeps a candle burning in her window to guide him home safely from his journeys, a sign, Fr Desmond said, of the hope in the parish for Madeleine's safe return.

    Fr Desmond said: "In the windows of our hearts we will keep a candle burning for little Madeleine.

    "It is very important that in this parish community for the last years we have prayed for little Madeleine and all missing children.

    "By your presence here, your support over the past three years and your kindness and your love and your devotion, you have kept a candle burning for Madeleine.

    "We pray that Jesus is keeping Madeleine safe and Jesus, the Light of the World, is holding a light for Madeleine.

    "I do find it hard to believe all these prayers will not go unanswered.

    "John Trenchard, after many adventures, eventually returns home and he literally is guided home by the candle that burns in the window.

    "As a parish community of strength, we will continue to keep a candle burning in the window of our hearts for little Madeleine.

    "We hope, we pray, we trust that little Madeleine will be guided home by the light of so many candles burning brightly."

    Madeleine disappeared aged three while on holiday with her parents in the Portuguese resort of Praia da Luz in 2007.

    Yellow ribbons, the symbol of the hunt for her, could be seen all around the church.

    Hundreds of Leicestershire villagers offer prayers for return of Madeleine, 04 May 2010
    Hundreds of Leicestershire villagers offer prayers for return of Madeleine Leicester Mercury

    Hundreds offer prayers for return of Madeleine
    Hundreds offer prayers for return of Madeleine

    Tuesday, May 04, 2010, 09:30

    Hundreds of villagers showed their support for the family of missing Madeleine McCann last night at a service held three years after her disappearance.

    Prayers were said at an open-air service in Cross Green, in the centre of Rothley, for her return.

    Family members read out poems and messages of hope and thanks.

    Parents Kate and Gerry were among the crowd of nearly 300 as the vicar of Rothley, the Rev Rob Gladstone, and then Kate's aunt, Janet Kennedy, who organised last night's service, spoke.

    A poem by Simon Armitage called The Beacon, written on the 1,000th day since Madeleine went missing, was also read out.

    During the poem, Kate and Gerry held one another and bowed their heads, while others in the crowd held hands.

    Mrs Kennedy said it has been a comfort to reflect on how "tremendous" the support for her family had been and offered "heartfelt thanks" to everyone present.

    She said: "Every day we struggle with the fact she's still not returned home. We have to believe in faith and that something will come of it – even though it gets very hard not to lose heart and stay strong.

    "When I meet people they say not a day goes by when they aren't thinking about Madeleine and it's lovely to have that support.

    "It's great the people were prepared to turn up in rain, hail or shine to be supportive. It's very inspirational that they were prepared to do that. Although we were praying because of the date, it was also for all missing children around the world.

    "It highlights that Kate and Gerry are not the only ones."

    Mr Gladstone urged well-wishers to "persevere and not lose faith" in the hope that Madeleine, who went missing from a holiday resort in Praia da Luz, in Portugal, aged three, will return safe.

    Among those at the service was family friend Sharon Lawson, of East Goscote, who looked after Madeleine. She said: "We came along to support Kate and Gerry.

    "We're still giving our full support and praying for her return."

    Another family friend Nicola Naylor, of Syston, said: "I hope she is returned home soon and is being kept safe and well. We're not giving up hope of that."

    With thanks to Nigel at McCann Files

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