Aunt tells of happy Donegal family holiday just a few weeks ago

12 May 2007
Belfast Telegraph
William Allen

Phil McCann, who spent time with the child and her family on holiday in Donegal just four weeks ago, has launched a chain email campaign in the hope that photographs of the snatched three-year-old will be distributed throughout Europe.

She also hopes a poster she has designed will be shown during the Eurovision Song Contest tomorrow night.

Speaking as she pored over photographs showing a happy Madeleine on holiday recently in Donegal, Ms McCann said: We don't believe that she is in Portugal anymore and need to get her picture and the story across Europe as quickly as possible.

The three-year-old, who was snatched from her bed as she slept in a holiday complex in Praia da Luz on Thursday of last week, had enjoyed an Easter break in the western coastal town of Dungloe.

Studying snaps taken in Gweedore during that visit, Ms McCann said: My dad, John was born in Derry and grew up in St Johnston. I was also born in Lifford, and we left Donegal in 1967. Madeleine's father Gerry was born later. But we still have friends in St Johnston and we go back a lot.

At Easter, 46 of us, family and friends from all over, spent Easter in Dungloe and we visited St Johnston.

Ms McCann, who now lives in Ullapool in Scotland, was born in Lifford- 20 miles from Londonderry - before the family moved to Scotland in 1967. The family still has close ties with the area.

Her mother Ellen, who was originally from Crolly, near Burtonport in Donegal, has travelled from Scotland to Portugal to comfort Maddy's parents.

Before being plunged into despair by the abduction, family members had made plans to celebrate Madeleine's fourth birthday in Leicestershire tomorrow.

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