Searchers head off in hunt for Maddie

18 May 2007
The Burnley Express

A NELSON dad is hoping to form a search and rescue team to help find British child Madeleine McCann, who was abducted in Portugal.

Father-of-five Stephen Taylor (32) is looking for the help of any ex-armed forces members willing and able to help with the ground search across Portugal and into Spain.

People all over the world have been touched by the heartbreaking news that four year-old Madeleine, from Leicestershire, was taken from her bed in the Praia da Luz apartment while her parents ate in a nearby restaurant.

Ex-infantry soldier Mr Taylor, of Leeds Road, said: "I've got five children myself, including a little girl who is the same age as Madeleine with blonde hair and blue eyes. I look at her and think what would I do in that situation.

"Ideally, I would like to hear from ex-armed forces trained in search and rescue and people that have basic survival skills. People who come forward need to be serious about getting time off work and be prepared to self-fund themselves."

Mr Taylor, originally from Leeds, is joined by ex paratroop Colin Sahlke (46), also of Nelson, who will fly out to Portugal with him this weekend.

Mr Taylor said: "We've got flights to Portugal this Sunday so hopefully we can try and set up a base camp and get in touch with the police over there and the family to get more information.

"I've already been in touch with Leicestershire police and I'm hopeful we may get the offers of some spare kit from a local TA base for the people joining us, even if it's just sleeping bags and water bottles."

Anyone who is interested in joining the team should call Stacey at the Nelson Leader office on 612561.

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