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Day 12 - Launch of International Missing Children's Day 25 May 2010

TUESDAY 25 MAY 2010 
Yesterday was the UK launch of International Missing Childrens Day (IMCD).

The day began with an interview about Andrew (& the bicycle ride) on ITV?s Good Morning TV program. This is the most widely viewed news & public interest program in the UK. It is also broadcast into Europe where it is watched by many thousands of UK ex-pats & holiday-makers. Photographs of Andrew & Melinda were featured throughout the program & have now been posted on the GMTV website, as well as their Twitter page.

This was followed a short time later by the official launch of IMCD at The Deck, which is part of the National Theatre. The launch was attended by a large number of very senior government officials; left-behind-parents & family members, and national & international media.

I was invited to deliver a speech as part of the launch during which I raised a number of issues including the enormous range of negative psychological effects experienced by abducted children; the role of the international media in helping to find missing children; shortcomings in The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (The Hague Convention); the need for improved anti-child abduction legislation in several countries; the gross violation by abducting parents of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, & the role of new technologies in locating missing children.

I also talked about the circumstances surrounding Andrew's abduction & disappearance, & the international effort being put into finding him and Melinda.

Immediately after the launch, there was a very high level of media interest in Andrew by media outlets including the BBC & Al Jazeera.

It was a very moving experience being with other parents whose children have been abducted and meeting for the first time with the many people who are trying to find them, including representatives of missing children organisations, senior government officials including the UK's most senior police officers, and senior staff from the UK Police Missing Children's Unit.

A highlight of the event for me was meeting six-year-old Nadia Taylor & her mother Sarah. Nadia was abducted to Libya by her father when she was four. Her mother fought all efforts by Nadia's father to stop Nadia being returned to the UK and to prevent Nadia having any contact with her mother. Sarah refused to give up & took the unprecedented measure of enlisting the personal support of Libyan leader Colonel Gadaffi to have Nadia returned to the UK. Nadia is a wonderful little girl who sat with me while her mother delivered an address to the audience. Nadia kept telling me to keep looking for Andrew because she knows he wants to see his dad.

Despite everything that has happened, Nadia's mother is doing everything possible to make sure Nadia has every opportunity to maintain her relationship with her father. I also had a long talk to
Kate McCann whose search for her daughter Madeleine is unrelenting. We've agreed to stay in touch because we both share the horrible ordeal of not knowing where our children are.

I also caught up with two wonderful & determined ladies I'd been very privileged to meet a couple of days before the launch. Denise Allan-Hovarth has been searching for her son Charles who disappeared while holidaying in Canada 21 years ago. Cathy Phillips has been searching for her sister (Maria) who disappeared from the southern part of England 21 years ago as well & her case has just been reopened by police. Neither of them has given up searching for their child & sibling.

The list of parents I met at the launch is very extensive. Sadly, it's a sign of how serious the problem of International Parental Child Abduction has become. Everyone agreed that more needs to be done to reduce the risk of this happening to other kids by addressing the types of issues I raised in my speech.

My London cycling skills have improved to the extent that the past four days have seen me cycling more than 200 kilometres in & around Central London (even the bus drivers & taxi drivers are sharing the bus lanes with me now!). I cycled to Buckingham Palace on Sunday where dozens of people from many different countries approached me to ask about Andrew & to take ?Missing Andrew? bumper stickers. The same thing happened at the other tourist icons I cycled to as well.

At the end of the IMCD events, I cycled along the banks of the Thames River from to Kingston-on-Thames to prepare for the next stage of the ride, which will take me from London to Bournemouth in the south of England.


ken ?? - Chief Inspector Peter Neyroud - Sarah Nadia

Ken Nadia Sarah

Ken Thompson Father of Andrew  Mr Thompson last saw his son on the 22 April 2008 - two days before he was abducted.

Ken Thompson Father of Andrew  Mr Thompson




Andrews Grandmother

Andrews Grandmother Andrew and Father Ken

Andrew and Father Ken

Andrew and Father Ken

Andrew and Father Ken
Andrew and Father Ken

Andrew and Father Ken


Andrew and Father Ken

Andrew and Father Ken

Andrews Mother Melinda

Andrews Mother Melinda

Andrews Mother Melinda
Andrews Mother Melinda


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