Thanks for not giving up on us

Thanks for not giving up on us
Maddie one year on: Parent's praise our readers
Ross Hall
4 May 2008
The News of the World

Your support keeps us going

THE desperate parents of Madeleine McCann fear the first anniversary of her disappearance offers their last chance of finding her.

Kate and Gerry, both 40, are worried that now the date has passed, Maddie's plight will be forgotten.

Speaking exclusively to the News of the World as they re-launch their campaign to find her, Gerry told us: "This could be the last chance to get our message out there.

"We ask anyone with information to come forward. We're not interested in who you are, we just want to find our daughter."

The McCanns thanked the News of the World and our readers for supporting their efforts to find Maddie, who went missing aged three from the family's holiday apartment in Portuguese resort Praia da Luz.

We offered a Pounds 1.5million reward -the largest in newspaper history- and launched a massive poster campaign across Portugal and Europe.


Gerry said: "We can wholeheartedly say a huge thank-you to the News of the World and your readers for their constant and unswerving support of us.

"Even in the darkest days, that commitment didn't waver and having somebody who was prepared to believe in us when almost everyone else had doubts has really helped give us strength.

"To have the News of the World behind us and not adding to that agony has been very important to us. The reward, posters and constant support have all helped.

"Putting flyers on to all of the planes showing Madeleine's photograph was the right message and was exactly what needed to be done at the time."

Kate added: "We are very grateful for everything you have done for us. The News of the World has shown responsible journalism towards a family who are going through an awful ordeal.

"The News of the World has always taken a very strong stance about crimes against children and I think that's admirable."

The couple spoke to us before a special service at their local church-St Mary and St John in Rothley, Leics-yesterday to mark the first anniversary to the day of Maddie's disappearance.

At the service a sobbing Kate spontaneously left her pew to address the packed church.

Standing at the pulpit, she pleaded: "Pray like mad.

"Please stay with us, stay with Madeleine, keep praying."

Earlier, Kate told us she has finally accepted the harsh truth that Madeleine has gone.

She told us: "I think it has become reality now. For an incredibly long time it was very surreal.

"I do have moments where I actually think back to what's happened. What we've gone through and done over the last year.

"Sometimes I visualise somebody going into the bedroom and taking Madeleine. I don't know how somebody could do that. But we're a year down the line and the reality of Madeleine not being here has finally hit home."

Gerry, caringly placing an arm around Kate's shoulder, said: "There are periods where you think, 'Has this really happened?'

"Every day is the same for us in respect of how hard it is without Madeleine. If we hadn't had something positive to focus our energy on this week it would have been quite unbearable."

In a bid to find some hope in their torment, the McCanns are backing a Europe wide abduction alert system.

They want it based on America's Amber Alert scheme-where police immediately inform border patrols, the media and the public about a missing child. But for now they are channelling all their energy into finding Madeleine.

Gerry said: "Since Wednesday we've been flat out with work on the re-launch of the campaign.


"We do think a child alert system is needed but our primary objective is the search for Madeleine. Everything else is secondary."

Their investigative team has been inundated with "hundreds" of new calls and potential leads.

Gerry revealed: "We have had an overwhelming response and we are very encouraged by it.

"We want people to keep coming forward with information."

The couple have tried to keep a normal family life for the sake of their twins Sean and Amelie.

Consultant cardiologist Gerry has returned to work full time though Kate, a GP, has not.

The couple still get stopped in the street by well-wishers which, Kate says, always gives her a lift.

They made a conscious decision to mark the anniversary of Maddie's disappearance in Rothley, not Praia da Luz. Gerry explained: "Our experience of Portugal is tainted. We would have liked to have left there under very different circumstances."

THE BBC last night pulled a film scheduled for today called Madeline-about a runaway orphan and a kidnapping plot-after the News of the World pointed out the insensitive nature of its timing.

Pounds 1.5m reward for Maddie's safe return - details at

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