Monday May 21, 2007

Jessica Johnson

THE last time Gerry McCann was at Faro airport, he was with his wife and three children looking forward to a holiday in the sun with other families.

But now the consultant cardiologist is embroiled in a living nightmare.

Last night, the father of Madeleine McCann flew back to England to make arrangements for the international campaign to find his daughter.

Mr McCann is expected to spend just over 24 hours away from his wife Kate and their twin children Sean and Amelie.

It is the first time the family have been separated since their eldest daughter Madeleine’s abduction.

A spokeswoman for the family in Portugal said yesterday: “Gerry is going back this evening, and he will return on Tuesday. He is dealing with some personal matters and he will be talking to the people who are organising the fund.”

Mrs McCann will remain at the family’s temporary holiday apartment in Praia da Luz, where they continue to wait for news of the four-year-old, who was snatched from her bed 17 days ago.

The couple have vowed to stay in the Algarve for the foreseeable future to coordinate an international campaign to get her back.

Sustained by their religious faith, they are convinced that Madeleine is still alive and are spearheading a drive to make her face known across Europe and beyond to ensure her safe return.

Madeleine’s fund, which has been set up to pay for efforts to raise the missing toddler’s profile across Europe and North Africa, has already raised over £80,000.

Although it is the first time the couple have been separated since the abduction, the McCann’s spokeswoman emphasised that Mr McCann was returning to Britain to do “positive” things.

“He’s very focused, he is flying back to England for very practical reasons and he’s going to get back here as quickly as he can,” she said.

Last week, Kate McCann said that she “couldn’t even consider” leaving Portugal at present.

It emerged today that the family are considering a possible round-Europe mission to spread awareness of Madeleine’s abduction in the hope that she will be found.

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