KATE and Gerry McCann will mark the 1000th day since their
daughter Madeleine went missing with a fundraising event attended by
Supporters of the couple will also launch 1000 glowing paper
lanterns into the night sky in Britain, Portugal and the US to coincide
with tomorrow's sad anniversary.
About 180 guests are expected to attend the McCanns' £150-a-head
dinner, raffle and auction at Kensington Roof Gardens in west London.
It is understood that those invited include Sir Richard Branson,
who owns the exclusive venue, Harry Potter author JK Rowling and the
couple's millionaire backer Brian Kennedy.
Half the money raised will go to the McCanns' fund to find
Madeleine, and the other half will be split between the charities
Missing People and Missing Children Europe.
Nearly £2million was raised for Madeleine's Fund in the first 10
months after the little girl went missing from Praia da Luz in Portugal
in May 2007.
But the initial surge of donations dried up and the McCanns, both
41, from Rothley, Leicestershire, spent hundreds of thousands of pounds
hiring a series of private detectives to continue the search for their
McCann family spokesman Clarence Mitchell stressed that there was
no "crisis" in the fund, which currently stands at about £500,000.
He said: "The directors of the fund felt it was prudent to
maintain the fund. But even if the fund were to run dry, it doesn't mean
the search stops."
Mr Mitchell said tomorrow evening's fundraiser would be attended
primarily by the couple's friends and long-term supporters.
The paper lanterns will be launched at 7.30pm British time from
about 20 different locations, including Praia da Luz, Rothley and Mrs
McCann's hometown of Liverpool.
Madeleine was nearly four when she went missing from her family's
holiday apartment on May 3 2007 while her parents dined with friends
Despite a massive police operation and huge publicity worldwide,
she has not been found.
Mr and Mrs McCann are currently taking legal action against
Goncalo Amaral, the former head of the Portuguese police investigation
into Madeleine's disappearance.
They have been granted a temporary injunction on his book,
Maddie: The Truth Of The Lie, which claims their daughter died in her
family's holiday flat on the day she went missing.
Earlier this month the couple flew to Lisbon to hear Mr Amaral
attempt to overturn the ban in the Portuguese capital's main civil
court. The judge is expected to rule on the case next month.
The McCanns are also seeking 1.2 million euros (£1.08million) in
compensation for defamation in separate proceedings in Portugal against
the former detective.