We are one week in to the New Year and we can definitely say the holiday period is well and truly over. Some of the media coverage today has been at its worst since Kate and I were declared arguidos.
We can categorically deny that we are considering a movie about Madeleine’s disappearance. This is simply untrue. We are approached by a huge number of media outlets regarding a myriad of projects, only a tiny proportion of which we agree to. Each proposal is considered on whether it is likely to have a positive effect, either directly or indirectly on the search for Madeleine. As stated today by Clarence, there was a preliminary discussion between a production agency and a representative of Kate and I to discuss the possibility of a documentary about the issues we have faced since Madeleine was abducted. Clearly Europe is a long way behind the USA in terms of its response when a child goes missing.
Kate and I have opened all of the Christmas cards and many mass cards which have been for Madeleine. We would like to thank everyone who has helped and supported us over the last eight months. We could not have got through this ordeal on our own and without doubt, Madeleine needs all our help
09 Jan 08
Statement from the Board of Madeleine’s Fund- Leaving No Stone Unturned 09 January 2008
‘There was a scheduled board meeting of Madeleine’s Fund today. We have reached a new longer- term phase in the search for Madeleine and we have reviewed how effective our Fund has been in pursuing its objectives. We agreed to continue our funding of the investigation to find Madeleine and we have decided to look at further media opportunities to support our search. To that end, we have invited two new directors to replace the two who stepped down, for business and personal reasons, We, together with Kate and Gerry McCann, extend our thanks to Esther and Phillip for their hard work and continuing support. We welcome Edward Smethurst and Jon Corner to the board to lend their expertise in commercial law and media.”
12 Jan 08
It was no surprise for us to learn last night that the secrecy of the files in to Madeleine’s disappearance is to be maintained for another three months. All of the arguidos retain their status. We are extremely disappointed as we feel this uncertainty hinders the most important thing: searching for Madeleine.
We are utterly dismayed to read tonight further stories about a film that are simply untrue. Kate and I thought that we had totally quashed such unfounded rubbish several days ago. At no point have we considered a movie about Madeleine’s disappearance. Nor would we sanction another documentary purely about Madeleine’s abduction, as there is no new information since the Panorama programme aired. We would consider a programme that would treat the serious issues we have faced since Madeleine’s disappearance. Clearly Europe has a lot to learn from the US and there has to be change in practice and legislation about how missing children are investigated. We will continue to campaign to effect change in Europe, in the hope that it will become a safer place for our children.
I have now been back at work full-time for the last 10 days. I would like to thank all of the staff at Glenfield Hospital, and the patients, for making this as easy as possible for me. Kate and I remain very busy with the campaign, supported by friends, family and many ‘new’ friends! We are regularly in contact with friends in Praia da Luz who continue to hold a vigil every week to pray for Madeleine. They are an amazing group of people who continue to provide us with ‘força’ and ‘esperança’ (strength and hope).
15 Jan 08
Kate and I were dismayed to learn today that a 5-year-old girl has been missing from Huelva, in Southern Spain since Sunday evening. As many of you know, Heulva is approximately a 2 hour drive from Praia da Luz and we went there in early August to publicise Madeleine’s disappearance. Hearing of the probable abduction of Mari Luz Cortesa has brought many awful emotions flooding back. We hope and pray that Mari is quickly found and returned safely to her family.
20 Jan 08
Today we have released drawings of a man who needs to be eliminated from the investigation to find Madeleine. A witness, Gail Cooper, who was holidaying in Praia da Luz shortly before we arrived, saw him on several occasions. She found the man, who claimed to be collecting for an orphanage, very intimidating. After interviewing Gail, our private investigators commissioned a forensic sketch by a FBI trained artist. The man has many similarities in looks and clothing he was wearing to the description of the man given by Jane Tanner. Click Here to see the drawings.
The man Jane saw walking away from the apartments where we were staying was carrying a child, around 9.10pm on the night Madeleine was abducted. Jane described pyjamas matching those Madeleine was wearing without knowing what she had on that fateful night. We are convinced that this was when Madeleine was taken. Jane has been shown these sketches of the man. She feels he has a strong resemblance to the man she saw on May 3rd.carrying the child away.
It is essential that he be traced. We believe many people must know who this individual is. We appeal to anyone who knows him, or may have seen him to contact our private investigators on +34 902 300 213 or firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are this man please make contact with the investigators or your local police. All of this information has been passed on to the Portuguese and British police and Interpol has been informed. This man may have key information that will help us locate Madeleine.
01 Feb 08
We have launched the new website layout today. I hope you all like it and we are sure that you fill find it much easier to navigate. The website was always envisaged as being the main portal to the find Madeleine campaign. If Madeleine remains missing and as the media attention drops then the website will be instrumental in keeping people up to date. As you will see a lot of work has gone in to extensively revising the content. Our whole family have unfortunately learnt an awful lot about the problems of missing and exploited children.
Our priority will always be to search for Madeleine and whoever abducted her. However we hope to work in coalition with the many excellent organisations in Europe and further afield to campaign for change. The first goal will be to get an EU wide child alert system introduced with cooperation from all the relevant authorities and law enforcement agencies.
Sean and Amelie turned three today. We hope and pray that they will never have another birthday without Madeleine here. Despite the circumstances they really enjoyed their birthday ‘tea party’ today. The twins love seeing all their extended family. There is no doubt that Sean and Amelie have made life for all of us a little more bearable over the last 9 months.
Statement from Kate and Gerry on the new look official Find Madeleine website:
Message from Gerry and Kate
Our daughter Madeleine was abducted on 3rd May 2007 in Praia da Luz, Portugal, 9 days before her 4th birthday. She was taken from our holiday apartment where she was sleeping with her younger brother and sister whilst we were dining 50 yards away. Despite a massive investigation led by the Portuguese police and supported by the British police, we still do not know who has taken her, why she was taken or where she is. In addition, private investigators based in Spain are now following up any leads regarding Madeleine’s disappearance. (Investigation page)
Since Madeleine’s abduction, we have learned a lot about missing children and child exploitation. The scale of the problem is massive and worldwide. Although finding Madeleine will always remain our priority, we feel it is our duty to highlight these problems as well as areas where legislation can be improved, in order to make the world a little safer for all children. To achieve these aims we are working closely with the International Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the Centre for Child Exploitation and Online Protection and other non-governmental agencies throughout Europe (Investigation page). The Find Madeleine Campaign launched a new YouTube channel for missing children in August 2007 called ‘Don’t You Forget About Me‘ in conjunction with ICMEC and Google.
The support we have had from around the world has been amazing. We have no doubt that without all the good wishes, prayers and efforts of so many people, our ordeal would have been so much harder. It has helped maintain our strength and hope, and this together with support for the campaign, has helped the search for our precious Madeleine. We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their unconditional support and solidarity.
Madeleine is a beautiful little person. She was a very happy and much loved little girl. We believe there is a very good chance that Madeleine is still alive. She deserves the love and security of her family. She needs to be back home with her mummy and daddy, brother and sister.
Please keep Madeleine in your thoughts and prayers. And please – remain vigilant.
We will NEVER give up looking for Madeleine.
Thank you again for your ongoing support and kindness.
14 Feb 08
Yesterday was a busy day on several fronts. Kate and I met with representatives of Missing Children Europe. This is an umbrella organisation that has 21 member non-governmental organisations that are involved in supporting families of missing and exploited children, from 15 EU countries. Missing Children Europe aims to share best practice, ensures a European presence at ICMEC and liases with various European Institutions. www.missingchildren.eu They have played a major role in securing the EU commission supporting a dedicated hotline for missing children: 116 000. The commission is also supportive of the introduction of a child alert system throughout the EU similar to the Amber alert system in the USA. However only a few countries run such a system and there is a lot of work to be done before the system is implemented in many countries, never mind an integrated throughout the EU.
The Portuguese justice minister also spoke to parliament yesterday regarding Mr Ribeiro’s comments about the haste with which we were made arguidos. As I stated at the time, no one can doubt how we have been scrutinised. We hope that, if as reported, the justice minister said the investigation is nearing a close that our arguido status will be lifted in the near future so that everyone can concentrate on searching for Madeleine. We will not give up looking for her until she is found and we hope that the police are similarly determined.
22 Feb 08
There has been a lot of media attention focussed on a possible sighting of Madeleine in Montpellier one week ago. We only heard of this two days ago and this was from a report sent into the website. Clarence has been inundated with media requests from all over the world for further information. Despite this, Kate and I have had no official notification of the potential sighting nor, more importantly, of whether this sighting has been eliminated by the authorities despite what has been reported in the press.
The continued disappearance of nine-year-old Shannon Matthews is deeply concerning and our thoughts and prayers are with her family. No matter what has happened to Shannon, there can be no doubt she must extremely vulnerable having spent three nights and four days away from home. We hope that she is found safe and well very soon and returned to her family.
29 Feb 08
It has been a relatively quiet week for us. We did hear from the UK police that the French have officially ruled out the reported sighting of Madeleine in Montpellier. It is disappointing that it took so long, particularly after the widespread coverage the reported sighting received in the media.
Today Kate and I met with representatives of two UK charities involved in missing and abducted children. Missing People is the largest UK non-governmental organisation involved in this area and a member of Missing Children Europe. The introduction of a Europe wide child alert system is strongly supported by both organisations. Missing People have also applied to run the 116 00 number, which has been reserved throughout the EU as a missing child hotline. Missing People were responsible for displaying Madeleine’s image on Marble arch, along with 2 other missing children last summer. It was heartening to hear today that one of those children was recovered as a direct result and the other has also been successfully returned to his family.
PACT (parents and abducted children together) is a much smaller organisation founded by Catherine Meyer. PACT is positioned primarily as an advocates for change in how missing children cases are handled and identified very early how poorly data on missing and abducted children are collected. PACT would like to see a national centre in the UK similar to NCMEC in the USA. It was uplifting to see how Catherine has maintained her passion, drive and commitment to try and make effective changes even after ten years of campaigning. Kate and I will work with the various non-governmental organisations to influence the policy makers who decide these important decisions.
11 Mar 08
Kate and I were so sad to learn that Mari Luz’s body had been found. This is the news that at any parent of a missing child dreads and a situation we desperately hope that we never have to face. We deeply sympathise with her family and pray they remain strong and in time are able to find peace.
We would like to thank everyone who continues to send us messages of support, encouragement and of hope. All of our family have been traumatised by Madeleine’s abduction and continued absence and the tremendous support we have received has undoubtedly helped us enormously over the last 10 months. Tomorrow there is a march in London starting opposite Western Marble Arch synagogue at 10am to petition for more support for the families of missing people who are left behind. The march has been organised by two mothers whose sons are missing and will be attended by representatives of the charity Missing People and families of those who have relatives missing.
14 Mar 08
Originally posted showing ‘Day 314: 12/03/2008’ in error
Kate and I heard the totally heart-warming news today that Shannon Matthews has been recovered safely. We are delighted for her family and hope and pray that Shannon has not suffered too much during the last 24 days.
Although the circumstances may be different, finding Shannon alive does give Kate and me renewed optimism. I am reminded of Ernie Allen’s ( the president of NCMEC) words: ‘until you know who has taken Madeleine and why, you cannot give up hope’. We do not know who has taken Madeleine or why, and there is certainly no indication that Madeleine has been seriously harmed. Of course we will not give up hope. Someone somewhere knows where Madeleine is.
When the blog was amended and reposted under the correct Day/Date, some of the original text had been omitted from the end of the blog, which now confusingly reads:
Kate and I heard the totally heart-warming news today that Shannon Matthews has been recovered safely. We are delighted for her family and hope and pray that Shannon has not suffered too much during the last 24 days.
Although the circumstances may be different, finding Shannon alive does give Kate and me renewed optimism. I am reminded of Ernie Allen’s ( the president of NCMEC) words: ‘until you know who has taken Madeleine and why, you cannot give up hope’. We do not know who has taken Madeleine or why, and there is certainly no
19 Mar 08
I think everyone must have heard the news today that Express Newspapers have published front page apologies to Kate and me and agreed damages of £550,000 which will be paid in to Madeleines Fund. It gives us no joy that we had to take such action- we would rather have not had to put up with such distasteful, grotesque and blatantly untruthful coverage. Nevertheless we hope todays events will act as a springboard in advancing the search for Madeleine. The money will be used to aid the investigation.
To read our full statement, please see the News and Press Releases in the News and Support section.
Statement from Madeleines Fund Board of Directors
Date Released: 19/03/2008 20:52:00
“The directors of Madeleine’s Fund welcome the settlement of Gerry and Kate’s complaint against Express Newspapers, in particular the front page apologies for the grossly defamatory stories that were consistently published in recent months and the agreement reached on substantial damages.
It has been a great additional burden for Gerry and Kate to be repeatedly vilified in sections of the press. Such coverage was also a diversion for our campaign to find Madeleine.
We hope that such public apologies will not only bring some comfort to Gerry and Kate, but that they will re-emphasise the need for a renewed focus on the campaign.
The £550,000 damages from Express Newspapers will now be used fully within the stated spirit and aims of Madeleine’s Fund.
The purpose of the Fund is to support Gerry and Kate specifically in the search for Madeleine and her abductor(s).
The Fund will, therefore, continue to work to gather information to assist them in achieving their aim of bringing Madeleine home. We would, once again, urge any member of the public who still feels they may have useful information to come forward with it without delay.”
27 Mar 08
Kate and I arrived back from Washington yesterday. We went primarily to visit the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) and to learn more about the implementation of their national AMBER alert system (child rescue alert). The whole experience was very positive. The staff at NCMEC is the most experienced in dealing with missing and abducted children anywhere in the world.
The AMBER alert system should be used in the most serious child abduction cases (usually by strangers, when the child is considered at risk of serious harm) to recover the child as quickly as possible. The alert is based on the realisation that galvanising the local community can play a huge role in finding missing children. Last year alone 68 children, and almost 400 in total since its’ implementation, were recovered safely as a direct result of the AMBER alert. In 16 cases the abductor released the child safely when hearing the AMBER alert. We strongly feel that Europe should have a similar integrated child rescue alert.
Our visit to Washington and meetings with other relevant European organisations will be shown on a documentary to be screened by ITV on the 30 April. The programme will focus on the campaign to introduce a European version of the AMBER alert. There will of course be massive media interest in Madeleine’s disappearance at this time, if she remains missing, and we hope that the programme is shown in most European countries and further afield.
During our Washington visit we were also very encouraged to hear that, in NCMEC’s experience, the younger the child at the time of abduction the less likely that child will be seriously harmed. Such information makes us believe even more fervently, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, that Madeleine can be found safe and well.
12 Apr 08
Our visit to the European Parliament on Thursday (10th) was the culmination of several months work. Kate and I presented a written declaration (see news and support) to the parliament asking for the introduction of an EU wide missing child alert system based on the US AMBER alert system. The AMBER system has been incredibly successful in rescuing abducted children. France has adopted a similar system in the last 2 years, which has been activated 5 times with all children being recovered alive.
An EU wide AMBER type system has widespread support. The EU commission presented draft guidance (written in conjunction with Missing Children Europe) on the introduction of such a system. In Lisbon in October last year the proposal got the informal support of the 27 member states home office/justice ministers.
We presented the declaration to MEP’s, answered questions and then held a press conference- our first public speech since returning from Portugal. For the declaration to be taken up we need 51% of (the 785) MEP’s to sign the declaration in the next 3 months. We would urge everyone to lobby their MEP’s to sign the declaration.
The day went extremely well although we were naturally asked questions about the Portuguese investigation, which are very difficult to answer for us, as we have had no direct dialogue with the Portuguese police. We were dismayed to learn that excerpts from our early witness statements were leaked to a Spanish TV station. These were taken out of context and there can be no doubts were designed to undermine our credibility. One has to question why these were leaked on the day when the media attention was huge and who benefits from such a leak? One thing for certain is that it does not help to find Madeleine. We would certainly welcome an independent inquiry as to where the leaking of such sensitive information, contrary to judicial secrecy laws, has come from.
03 May 08
It is a year to the day since Madeleine was abducted. A heinous crime that had the potential to destroy the strongest of families. Without doubt it has been the longest year of our lives, yet it does not seem like a year since we last saw Madeleine. She is still a large part of Sean and Amelie’s life and this gives some comfort to Kate and me.
The research we have done this year has encouraged us to believe that there is a very good chance Madeleine is alive. Ernie Allen, president of NCMEC for the last 25 years, has reiterated that and the fact there are a number of scenarios in which Madeleine could be alive and well. We just need to find her.
The documentary we made on an EU wide Amber alert and the last year was screened in the UK on Wednesday night, in Spain on Thursday and last night in Portugal. We have spent most of the last 3 days promoting our new hotline number +4 845 838 4699 (calls are charged at local rate) and our e-mail addresses for information: email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org .
We have always said we will leave no stone unturned in the search for Madeleine. To do that we need to know what has and has not been done – unfortunately we know very little about the investigation to date. This is why we are appealing to everyone who may have come forward previously to do so again. Every piece of information is important to us. We are also appealing to people who may not have come forward for whatever reason to do so. We are only interested in finding Madeleine and will guarantee confidentiality and anonymity if requested. We are also families asking with children to think if something similar may have happened to them. It is unlikely this is the first time that the abductor has struck.
Today we will be attending one of the many services to pray for Madeleine and other missing children. We would like to thank everyone, of all faiths, who has prayed for Madeleine over the last year. The Helping to find Madeleine group have also organised a ‘lighting the way home for Madeleine’ event where, they will release lanterns in Rothley around the time she went missing. Others will light a candle and we greatly appreciate the support and symbolic gestures.
11 May 08
It has been another busy week. We have been inundated with mail that we are working through. Kate and I would like to thank everyone who has helped and supported us over the last twelve months. It is the support we have received from family, friends, and the overwhelming response of the general public that has sustained us. Special thanks to everyone who has contributed to Madeleine’s Fund, which has allowed us to continue the independent investigation to find Madeleine.
Following our renewed appeal there has been a tremendous response to both the call line (+44 (0)845 838 4699) and the e-mail addresses (email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org). Hundreds of calls and e-mails have been received and each and every bit of information will be assessed and followed up. We would encourage anyone who might have information to contact us in confidence. We would like to hear from everyone who was staying at the Ocean Club at the time of Madeleine’s abduction or from anyone who may have experienced a similar incident in the Iberia peninsula.
Tomorrow is Madeleine’s fifth birthday. It will be one of the hardest days of the last 375. We will be marking it privately and quietly. We will do everything to try and ensure Madeleine does not spend another birthday separated from her family.
13 Jun 08
First of all apologies for the long gap since my last blog. We are still very busy and the last 2 weeks all four of us have been laid low with a viral illness.
Our investigative team have been very busy working through all the information which has been coming in through the new hotline number and the e-mail addresses – see investigation page. A lot of this information is undoubtedly relevant to the investigation and every piece of information will be followed up- a very time consuming process – so please be patient with us! We are planning a facility to allow the upload of pictures of people who were in the Algarve leading up to Madeleine’s abduction. In the interim pictures can be e-mailed to email@example.com
The campaign for a Europe wide Amber alert continues. There is approximately one month left to get the majority of MEP’s to sign the written declaration. Edward McMillan- Scott has told us that so far there are 211 signatures therefore we need another 182. Thank you to everyone who has written to MEP’s. Some of the responses that have been sent display a complete lack of understanding in what we hope to achieve. For example some have said they will not sign because such a system is already in place with the 116 000 hotline number. Firstly this number for missing children is only operational in one out of 27 European countries (Greece) so far. Secondly the number does not mean an Amber alert will be issued for an abducted child as no such system exists- hence the written declaration. Thirdly we are looking for cross border cooperation between member states when a child is abducted. Hopefully with more lobbying, we can get the declaration accepted.
We are continually looking to improve the website. Over the next few weeks you should notice some changes. We are planning to have new messages on the home page from Kate and myself. The blog may change to a findmadeleine update, there will be new pages displaying the posters in full and further details of local fundraising events. With the holiday season approaching, we would be really grateful if people would once again download Madeleine posters from the website (available in many different languages in how to help/downloads section) and take them with them for distribution and display. 1 in 6 children are recovered after someone has recognised them from a poster!
Finally, we would like to say thank you to everyone for their continued help and kindness, the many letters, messages of support and prayers. It is reassuring and uplifting that Madeleine is in so many people’s thoughts and prayers even at this stage.
18 Jun 08
Kate and I had a flying visit to Strasbourg yesterday to the European Parliament. The visit was organised by one of the written declaration sponsors, Edward McMillan-Scott who is a Vice-President of the parliament.
It was hectic schedule but well worth effort. We met with the other sponsors, many MEP’s who have signed the declaration and many who did not realise that there was a declaration on the introduction of an EU wide Amber alert. As we stated when we launched the declaration in Brussels last month- the alert is not our idea. It already has the support of the European commission and they and other groups such as Missing Children Europe, PACT and Missing People have done a huge amount of work previously. Our hope is that getting the declaration formally adopted by the parliament will speed up the implementation of alerts throughout the EU member staets and facilitate cross-border cooperation. Many of the MEP’s who have not signed said they will and a lot of those who have already signed said they will lobby their National and fellow group MEP’s to sign.
Today we heard that 283 have now signed the declaration compared to 211 on Monday. We are hopeful that the additional 110 signatures required will be achieved by the next sitting of parliament on the 7-10th July. It would be a great shame if the declaration failed because of a combination of ignorance and apathy.
10 Jul 08
We have recently managed to have a break visiting family. Sean and Amelie have had a brilliant time and it has been great for me to spend so much time with them. Although this has been a relaxing break, it has been incredibly difficult for Kate and me to have been on holiday without Madeleine- it is all too apparent what is missing.
We were very pleased to learn today that the written declaration calling for the introduction of an EU wide Amber alert system has been successful. More than half of the 786 Members of the European Parliament (MEP’s) were required to sign the declaration for it to be adopted as a full resolution of the European Parliament and as of today 417 had signed. This is a small step in the right direction and a lot of work will be needed to get National Amber alert systems implemented. The idea already has the support of the European Commission and this additional political impetus should speed up the implementation process.
We would like to thank Edward McMillan-Scott and the other 4 sponsors of the declaration, all those MEP’s who signed the declaration and all the members of the public who lobbied their MEP’s.
There has been a lot of speculation in the press over the last 10 days that the investigation in to Madeleine’s disappearance has closed. We have not heard anything officially other than we know the files are with the prosecutor and the period of secrecy has been extended to 14th August. Our independent investigation continues and we urge people going on holiday to remain vigilant and consider taking one of our posters with them- downloadable from the how to help section of the website.
21 Jul 08
Today we learned that our arguido status and that of the other arguido, Robert Murat, has been lifted. The case will be filed unless other important new evidence is uncovered. Kate delivered the statement below to the media earlier this evening. Our search for Madeleine, which has never ceased, continues.
‘We welcome the announcement from the Portuguese Attorney General today, although it is no cause for celebration. It is hard to describe how utterly despairing it was to be named ‘arguidos’ and subsequently portrayed in the media as suspects in our own daughter’s abduction- and worse. It has been equally devastating to witness the detrimental effect this status has had on the search for Madeleine.
We look forward to scrutinising the police files to see what has ACTUALLY been done and, more importantly, what can still be done, as we leave no stone unturned in the search for Madeleine. We would once again urge anyone with relevant information to come forward and call our helpline on +44 845 838 4699 or send information to firstname.lastname@example.org
Finally we would like to thank everyone who has supported us and stayed with us during this particularly difficult period. We assure you we will NEVER give up on Madeleine.
14 Aug 08
It is over 3 weeks since we learned that the Portuguese authorities had closed the investigation to find Madeleine, lifted our arguido status and ended judicial secrecy. We were surprised that copies of investigation files were given to the media. The content of these files has been extensively reported. It will be clear to everyone now, that there is absolutely no evidence that suggests Madeleine has been seriously harmed. Knowing this, we strongly believe that Madeleine is out there and can be found.
Of course whoever is responsible for Madeleine’s abduction must, and can be, found to prevent them from putting another child and family through the misery we have suffered. We have always believed that this heinous crime could be solved with the help of the public.
Our investigators continue to explore credible leads and will continue to do so as long as Madeleine is missing. Now that the authorities are no longer looking for Madeleine we implore everyone who has provided information to the enquiry to contact us at email@example.com or on + 44 (0)845 838 4699. We will guarantee that all information will be treated in the strictest confidence. You can help us find Madeleine.
01 Sep – 30 Sep 2008
12 Oct 08
First of all I want to apologise for not updating this blog for so long. I would like to assure everyone that this gap is not because there is little going on in the search for Madeleine. On the contrary, Kate and I have been incredibly busy over the last couple of months since the PJ files were made public. We and our family have always vowed to leave no stone unturned in the search for our daughter and knowing exactly what has been done and, more importantly, what has not been done is vital in planning our future strategy.
Getting the files translated accurately is a time consuming and expensive process but essential to our search. There is a huge amount of information contained within the files which we have not been party to until now and this needs to be assessed carefully. This is even more important as the Portuguese investigation is officially closed.
In some ways, although this task is monumental, it has been good for us doing being something active and positive which we believe may help find Madeleine. We are also using this period to get advice to maximise our effectiveness and efficiency in our overall strategy going forward. Keeping Madeleine’s image in the public eye will continue to be important and the distribution of posters is central to that aim.
Many people have also asked us what is happening with the Amber alert after the successful adoption of the written declaration by the European Parliament. It has been relatively quiet due to the summer recess but hopefully the momentum gained, added to the desire of the European Commission to for an Amber Alert system, will affect change in the near future.
Finally we would like to thank everyone for their continued, support, prayers and letters. I promise to do another update in the near future. We will be looking at how the website functions, as the main portal of the find Madeleine campaign, and perhaps future updates will be via another route rather than my blog. Why don’t you let us know what you think by e-mail messages of support?
17 Oct 08
Most of you will have seen yesterday that our seven friends, who were on holiday with us in Portugal when Madeleine was abducted, have been awarded libel damages. The Express group of newspapers admitted that many of the stories written about our friends were completely untrue and without foundation. They have apologised and paid £375,000 in to Madeleine’s Fund. This money will be put to good use for the ongoing search for our beautiful little girl.
Our friends were under no obligation to pay the damages in to the fund. However they have from day one indicated that this was what they wanted and have clearly demonstrated that finding Madeleine is of the utmost importance to them. They, like us, believe there is a very good chance Madeleine is alive and can be found. Thank you Fiona, David, Russell, Jane, Matt, Rachael and Diane.
We would also like to thank our friends in Portugal. They continue to hold a monthly Friday night vigil in Praia da Luz vigil to pray for Madeleine and other missing children, like so many others around the world.
09 Nov 08
A difficult week for Kate and me ended on a positive note last night. Monday was the 3rd of November- 18 months since Madeleine was so cruelly taken from us. We do not usually put a lot of store in specific milestones – these being just another day without Madeleine. This week was unusual in that both Kate and I were feeling low at the same time, which is an uncommon occurrence, and we can usually rely on one of us lifting the other.
We continue to work very hard behind the scenes. Our support team has been expanded as we try to identify what has been done, what has not been done and what can still be done to help find Madeleine. We are not yet halfway through the Portuguese files but there is less information within the files than we were expecting. As I have stated many times, someone has a key bit of information that can unlock this frustratingly difficult and painful situation.
Yesterday we went through to Liverpool for a Race Night organised by the Greenhills Taverners Society- a group who organise fundraising events for local good causes- along with family and friends. On this occasion all proceeds were going towards Madeleines Fund. Around 200 people turned up and everyone enjoyed a good night. Liverpool and Everton donated signed shirts which were auctioned and with tickets and a raffle around £2000 has been raised. A taxi driver, taking home some of our friends, even got in to the spirit of things by donating his fare to the fund. Well done everyone and thanks for all the messages of support prayers- we left Liverpool in much better spirits than when we arrived!
10 Nov 08
Correction to my entry last night. After adding all the money up the total raised at the race night was actually £5000! Well done everyone in Liverpool.
Where does the time go? I cannot believe it is 3 months since I wrote this blog- not that this seems like the most appropriate term for such a sporadic update. We remain incredibly busy and focussed on the search whilst trying to maintain a near normal life. For Kate and me life without Madeleine does not get easier but Sean and Amelie continue to give us a tremendous amount of joy. Amazingly Madeleine remains a large part of their life and they talk about her daily. We just have to find her!
We have a small team of people working tremendously hard behind the scenes- please do not think that because there is regular coverage in the media that the search has stopped.
I visited Lisbon last month and met with the UK Ambassador and our Portuguese lawyer. We need to explore every way we can work with the authorities to enhance the search for Madeleine.
Thanks to everyone who has sent letters, donations, prayers and words of support. It is all greatly appreciated.