A fighting fund has
been launched to help cover escalating costs in the search for
missing Madeleine McCann.
Madeleine McCann disappeared on 3 May
The fund was launched at the
Walkers Stadium in Leicester by Madeleine's uncle John McCann.
Earlier, Chancellor Gordon Brown
told relatives of the four-year-old he would help "in any way he
Madeleine, from Rothley in
Leicestershire, disappeared from an apartment in the Algarve resort
of Praia da Luz on 3 May.
Madeleine disappeared from her
bedroom 13 days ago as her parents ate dinner at a nearby tapas
Speaking at the launch, Mr McCann
said: "This fund will be a vehicle to help our family get our
darling, wee niece back."
This fund will be a vehicle to help our
family get our darling, wee niece back
It was also announced that any
money raised not needed for the search for Madeleine would be used
to help find missing children in the UK, Portugal and elsewhere.
"If, as a result of this fund, and
as a result of getting Madeleine back, we can help other families in
a similar situation that would be fantastic," Mr McCann added.
Also at the launch, colleagues of
Madeleine's mother Kate and father Gerry paid tribute to the couple
as "very successful doctors within our community".
She is a GP and he is a consultant
And former England and Leicester
rugby union captain Martin Johnson said Madeleine's disappearance
had "touched everyone".
Details of how to donate to the
fund - at banks, by post or via the internet - can be found at
Madeleine's aunt, Philomena
McCann, of Glasgow, visited Parliament on Wednesday to lobby MPs and
peers for support.
Philomena McCann appealed to MPs for their help
She said that, in a personal
meeting, Mr Brown had offered support on "a practical and a personal
She added: "For someone to abduct
Madeleine, we're aware they would want such a beautiful, caring
little girl as she is, and I can totally understand them.
"But give her back, she isn't
yours, we want her home and safe."
The family's push to keep the
search in the public eye comes after British suspect Robert Murat,
33, was questioned for 12 hours by police.
Police have searched his mother's
Algarve villa, Casa Liliana, close to where Madeleine was last seen.
He wants to get the focus back on to
Madeleine and away from him
Friend of Robert Murat
Mr Murat, who previously lived in
Hockering, Norfolk, has recently been living with his mother Jenny,
71, in Praia da Luz.
Speaking off camera after
questioning, Mr Murat told Sky News: "This has ruined my life and
made my life very difficult for my family here and in Britain."
Members of Mr Murat's family have
insisted he was having dinner with his mother on the night the
Tuck Price, a friend of the
family, said Mr Murat was keen to get the focus "back on Madeleine
and away from him".
"His daughter is now in hiding in
the UK," he added.
"The one thing, the compassionate
thing, that made him get involved in the case has put his daughter
in this horrible position."
Mr Murat has not been formally
named by police as their suspect.
Mr Murat may have been designated
a suspect by police, or he could have chosen to take "arguido"
status himself to gain additional protections under Portuguese law.
On Tuesday, Chief Inspector
Olegario de Sousa told a news conference he could not confirm
whether Madeleine was alive or dead.