Interview with Kate McCann, Ambassador, Missing People.
Programme – ‘Good Morning’
Tuesday 10th July 2012
Presenters: Philip Schofield /Holly Willoughby
Guest: Kate McCann
Holly: Right, over the five years since her daughter Madeleine
disappeared whilst on family holiday in Portugal, Kate
McCann has had first-hand experience of dealing with the
pain and heart break of having a loved one go missing.
Phil: Whilst the search for her daughter continues Kate is about to
help launch a brand new initiative which will hopefully
help find some of the thousands of people who go missing
in the UK each year, and Kate is here now to tell us all
about it. And we were just saying you don’t do many of
these things on your own do you?
Kate: I don’t, usually I have Gerry next to me, you’re right.
Phil: Well, this is a big, a very big launch, and the launch is
tomorrow, the biggest billboard campaign in British
history. So how is it going to work, what is it?
Kate: Well basically it’s a 12 week nationwide campaign and the
Outdoor Media Centre which is kind of the trade body for
all of the outdoor media owners, so all of the people
who own billboard space in your cities towns and your
public transport, they’ve teamed up with the charity
Missing People. Basically it’s to try and find missing
children and adults, so starting tomorrow across these
screens there will be featured one child and one adult
per week. So there will be a photograph, the location,
time, when they were last seen and a number 416000 to
call. And the idea is we know that outdoor advertising
works and we know that publicity is crucial to help
finding missing children, and it works and that’s why
Holly: But not only that, it’s a speed thing as well and because
these are screens it can be updated quickly can’t it?
Kate: Absolutely. The response time to change an appeal if needed
if more information comes in and they need to change it,
if a child is found and they need to put another appeal
up quickly they can do that pretty much instantly.
Phil: Well there are 250,000 people go missing each year in the UK,
thankfully the majority are found. But the heartache for
the families whose missing member of the family hasn’t
been found is extensive and on- going isn’t it?
Obviously this is something that you know?
Kate: It is, it’s erm I mean not only obviously do you go through
the pain and anxiety and fear you have that
relentlessness and uncertainty of not knowing, and that
doesn’t go away.
Phil: And so… and so this is your first official role as Ambassador
for Missing People?
Kate: It is yeh!
Phil: And so there is a great feeling that this open-loop
technology this… the ability to update screens very
quickly will help certainly when it comes to resolving a
case… because there is always good news, the girl who
was due to feature prominently in the campaign has been
found, which is fabulous but a new child obviously is
very quickly going to become the focus of that campaign.
It’s not just children either though is it?
Kate: No it’s not, it’s, vulnerable adults who go missing as well.
I think primarily or largely it’s going to be children
that are featured but there will be adults too.
Holly: So I guess the idea is that, if you see one of these
billboards in your town centre just stop and look...
Holly: Because you never know you might hold the key or some bit of
information to help find that person?
Kate: That’s right, and I think everyone can play a part, and it’s
estimated that 10 million people will actually see these
boards. You know obviously we’ve got the summer coming
up, we’ve got the Olympics, and I guess yeh, please
stop, take a look, you know it’s cliché but one person
can make a difference.
Holly: I saw all the tweets on National Missing Persons Day, and
the charity were tweeting every 30 minutes a picture of
somebody that had gone missing and it was going on
throughout the day, and I thought it was brilliant, but
two people were found that day.
Kate: That’s right, two teenagers were found, yeh.
Holly: So it just goes to show actually this works.
Kate: It does work and I mean you can speak to the experts in the
States and they can give you example after example. It
really does work and as I say everybody, everybody can
Phil: Is there any chance that this would, that this campaign if it
is successful here, will be extended throughout the rest
Kate: Well certainly it is an initial 12 week campaign but I think
it probably will continue. It may become more regionally
based. I’m not sure whether it will extend to Europe, it
would be fantastic if it could, or if there are any
other companies that could come forward, cos, you know,
basically the Outdoor Media Centre have, you know, they
are putting £1m towards this campaign and we do need
people like that, companies, organisations in order to
make initiatives like this happen.
Phil: You also are active on many fronts because you have launched
the European hotline as well for missing people, you
launched that in May. How has that gone?
Kate: Very good from what I’ve heard so far. There’s been a lot of
erm new people come to the number whether it be by
phone, or email or to the website which is encouraging.
They’ve had a lot of calls, an average probably of about
130 calls per day, each day, just to that number alone,
obviously the other numbers are active at the moment.
But it just shows really how a campaign can… ye know…
Holly: Really help… And I guess having that sort of network of
countries all working together, again that quickness and
that response is what is so important in that situation?
Kate: It does, I mean it’s a simple number, one number to remember,
erm and wherever you are in Europe in those 16 countries
that so far have the number, ring that number and you
will end up, you know if it’s not the right place,
you’ll be put through straight away to the right place.
Phil: We were saying about the effects of a missing person on a
family, this sort of far reaching explosion that goes,
that goes out throughout the whole family this ripple
effect. I was reading in the paper this morning that you
were saying, that your own two children Sean and Amelie,
that they still, take an interest, in the fact that
other people take an interest in what you have gone
Kate: Yeh, I mean as a family member who has a loved one missing, I
mean it’s so painful and I think you need to know… you
feel helpless… but you need to know, that there’s other
people helping too! I mean it just gives you great hope
and strength and there are so many families out there in
similar positions and, you know, this campaign itself
will help all these families.
Phil: What about…what about you, because DCI Andy Redwood, who’s
leading the review of the evidence in your case, said
his team, were developing ‘genuinely new information’
what are you aware of, where is…where is the case now?
Kate: Obviously I don’t know all the information. I know new
information has come in that needs to be followed up and
obviously there is a lot of information that’s come from
the files from the review as well. We are at the stage
really that we are hoping for the case to be re-opened,
so there isn’t really any change from where we stand
Phil: But the Portuguese officials… because in April the Portuguese
Attorney General appeared to rule out the re-opening of
the case, is it still a case of persuading them or
getting them further on board?
Kate: Oh I hope so, I think we felt we needed to allow more time
for people, to...to…you know for the authorities to…to
look at the evidence really before they made a decision.
Phil: It’s one of those things, that you wonder when you read the
newspapers, and you think I wonder how helpful this is
to the family because at the centre of every big
newspaper report there is a family that is going to be
reading it and maybe not wanting to see it, and there
was the evidence from Stephen Birch who spent £40,000 on
a scanner, took scans of the Praia da Luz area and said
that he found a void underneath there, are you aware of
all of that?
Kate: Yeh, I mean ya know the Met let us know about it in advance
of it hitting the newspaper. I guess ya know there was
no credibility to it, I mean, who is this person at the
end of the day, ya know so…
Holly: You have your own campaign this summer, don’t you and this
is the luggage tags?
Kate: Well, I mean we’re just carrying on basically on what we’ve
been doing last few years really. When people go on
holiday in the summer, we’re saying, please ye know take
some posters take some luggage tags. As you know we had
a new age progression produced, launched in April.
Phil: Yes this is it here (picture shown)
Kate: You know and it’s the same basis really for this campaign,
it’s so important to get an image out there. Ya know as
I say there will be 10 million people view the images
that go up in these billboards, same with Madeleine the
more people that they reach you know, the greater chance
of finding that child.
Phil: As we said, tomorrow is the big launch, it’s the… as we said
at the very beginning, the biggest billboard campaign in
British history and as Kate was saying, just take a
couple of minutes to look up and see whether or not you
recognise or can help any of the people that will appear
on these billboards. And thank you very much indeed.
During interview images of Madeleine, 5A, surrounding area and
Portuguese Police searching scrub land were shown.