COMFORT: Father Seddon
A PRIEST from Atherton flew to Portugal to comfort the McCann
family as they continue to search for their daughter Madeleine.
Father Paul Seddon baptised four-year-old Madeleine and married
parents Kate and Gerry eight years ago while he was based in
He moved to Atherton in September last year but has maintained
strong links with the family and was asked by them to fly to the
resort of Praia da Luz in which Madeleine disappeared nearly four
He has now returned home although the search for the girl
Yesterday, her parents released the last video clips taken of
their daughter before her disappearance, showing her dressed in pink
and holding a rucksack, walking on to a flight at East Midlands
The mobile phone footage also shows her on an airport bus in the
Father Seddon has spoken of the "tidal wave of empathy and love"
which has flowed towards the family during that anxious time.
He said: "I went as a friend rather than a priest. Kate called me
in the early hours of the morning shortly after Madeleine's
disappearance. Both she and Gerry were very distressed and I tried
to comfort them as best I could."
He added that the world had been inspired by the family's
resilient reaction to her abduction.
He was also impressed by the massive number of visitors who have
visited a website set up for Madeleine.
He said: "Initially we all felt weak and helpless but when we
looked at this couple in the most awful situation imaginable, we
asked ourselves the question - if they can be so courageous, why
He added: "The emphasis is now on how we can channel negative
emotions into positive action to make things better. We are not
going to look back now, we're going to look forward.
"Gerry spoke of the tidal wave of destruction Madeleine's
disappearance caused. It has now been met by a tidal wave of empathy
and love which has been turned into hope and action."
Father Seddon is the Roman Catholic parish priest of St Richard's
Church in Atherton.
He said Kate's deep-rooted faith had helped carry the family
through the trauma and that Gerry, a consultant cardiologist, has
had a possible religious awakening