Gerry’s Blogs (Days 59-120) Jul/Aug 2007

Gerry travels to London, Washington and Edinburgh alone, Kate briefly returns to UK for first time since Madeleine’s disappearance, British sniffer dogs allegedly pick up scent of dead body.

Gerry’s complete blogs for July/August 2007
July/August 2007 (Days 59-120)
July 2007
Date
Day
Blog
01 Jul 2007
59
Family day again, apart from some packing and sorting. Our friends are heading home in the morning and I picked up some family from the airport tonight. Our campaign manager has also flown in and we will be finalising a few more events for the coming weeks.
02 Jul 07
60
We completed our move to the new accommodation today. It took longer than expected as we moved the thousands of letters of suuport we have recieved and all the new toys. These letters and messages of support have given us tremendous encouragement and we would like to thank everyone who has taken the time to write to us and to those who have donated to Madeleines Fund, helping us continue the campaign to find Madeleine.

Most of this evening was spent on the phone and answering e-mails finalising forthcoming campaign events. There should be some stuff in the press in the next few days although we are very aware that the recent terrorist activity will, quite rightly, continue to dominate the news.

03 Jul 07
61
We did a single interview today for the Portuguese media with a British journalist sitting in. The interview marked the fact that it is two months to the day since Madeleine was abducted. We took the opportunity to emphasise that we would be staying in Portugal for the immediate future and continuing the campaign to help find Madeleine. We also want to work closely with the media here in Portugal and engage closely with the Portuguese people who have been so supportive.

We were asked what was the hardest day since Madeleine disappeared and replied that every day has been hard without Madeleine. We also stated that our determination to find Madeleine is matched by the Portuguese police and that we have a good working relationship with them. Our frequent meetings with the police help us stay informed, allow us to feed information into the investigation and let clarify information with senior officers conducting the investigation.

04 Jul 07
62
The England rugby team wore Look for Madeleine T-shirts at their open training session in the Algarve today. I am looking forward to seeing the pictures tomorrow! We had a brief, private meeting with the RFU management team last night to thank them for this unprompted show of support which helps keep Madeleines disappearance high profile here in Portugal and at home.

We also met today with SOS Crianca, which is the main child welfare non-governmental organisation in Portugal. Similar to our meetings with child welfare groups and ministers in other countries, they feel our campaign to keep Madeleines profile high is correct. It was a very constructive meeting and they have offered to help support us in any way they can. It is likely we will travel to Lisbon at some point to meet with other agencies to see what advice they have for us and if we can help them. We hope the huge amount of goodwill that has been generated following Madeleines abduction can be translated into tangible benefits for the future and we very much want to work with the organisations trying to prevent child abduction and expoitation.

It was heartening for Kate and I to learn of the release today of Alan Johnston after almost 4 months in captivity. Although the circumstances of his kidnapping are very different to that of Madeleines, it still lifted us to see him being freed knowing he will be reunited with his family shortly. We also agree with the commentators who have stated his family have acted with tremendous dignity throughout and Alan himself appeared incredibly resilient and composed following his release. Our best wishes go to Alan and his family.

05 Jul 07
63
Heart wrenching to learn of the little British 3 year old girl who has been kidnapped in Nigeria. We know more than anyone what ther parents are going through and we hope, that like most of the kidnap victims in Nigeria, she is returned safely.

The pictures of the England rugby squad in their Madeleine t-shirts were excellent as were the comments of the players supporting the campaign to find Madeleine. We hope and pray she will soon be able to thank all of those who have helped us maintain such a high profile of her disappearance.

06 Jul 07
64
The major development today was the arrest of a 39 year old Dutch citizen in Eindhoven for attempted fraud. The man had sent six e-mails saying he knew who had Madleine and where she was. He was demanding €2million for this information. After being arrested he has admitted he did not have any information and was motivated by boredom and trying to extort the money.

This arrest, after cooperation between the Portuguese, British and Dutch police forces, sends a clear message that this sort of crime is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. It also encourages Kate and I that all information about Madeleine coming through to the police in any European country will be taken seriously and rigorously evaluated.

07 Jul 07
65
Quiet family day.
08 Jul 07
66
A small event took place in Porto, in the north of Portugal, today to remember missing children. It was at a large schools end of year musical and the children and staff released balloons. It is good that local communities are staging events like this and we thank them for remembering Madeleine.

We were glad to hear the young British girl kidnapped in Nigeria was returned safely today.

09 Jul 07
67
Kate and I both managed early morning runs today- it is definitely the time of day to it with the high temperatures in the middle of summer. Getting some aerobic exercise certainly helps us feel better physically and psychologically which helps maintain our positive attitude.

The investigation into Madelienes disapperance remains very active and we note that the Portuguese police are conducting a series of interviews today and tomorrow.

10 Jul 07
68
No major news today but it was heartening to see both the British and Portuguese Prime Ministers, Gordon Brown and Jose Socrates, publicly pledge they would continue to do everything to help find Madeleine.
11 Jul 07
69
This morning got off to a bad start when we were called, even before the twins were awake, by a reputable press agency saying that a body had been found and asking if it was true. It is very disappointing that this person did not check out the source of this rumour before contacting our representatives. Such calls and rumours are distressing even though we know if it does not come through an official source not to place much emphasis on it.
The Portuguese police interviewed three of our friends again today, to clarify points in their initial statements. As most of you will know, there is a lot of misleading information being published, both in the press and on the internet, about the events leading up to Madeleine’s disappearance and the criminal investigation. We would like to give more information, especially about inaccurate and hurtful reports, but cannot for fear of prejudicing any subsequent court proceedings. The Portuguese police have made it clear to us that all witnesses should not divulge or discuss the information they have provided. Kate and I are, of course not party to all of the information coming into the inquiry for sound operational reasons.
Similarly a lot of people have asked to learn more about Madeleines likes and dislikes. This is information which we have been advised not to distribute publicly because of the risk of it being used in potential extortion attempts. The arrests recently in The Netherlands and Spain show that such information could be used negatively in the wrong hands.
12 Jul 07
70
It is ten weeks since Madeleine was abducted and every day has been incredibly hard for our family. No child should be separated from their family in such circumstances. The overwhelming messages of support, thoughts and prayers really help us stay strong. Somebody, somewhere knows where Madeleine is and it may take a single phone call for her to be found. We will not give up searching for her.
I came to London today to meet with the British police and will go to the Child Exploitaion and Online Protection Centre tomorrow to learn more about their role. As I have said previously we want to work closely with the police and child welfare organisations to help us keep awareness of Madeleines and other childrens disappearance high.
I was also invited to attend the National Police Federation Annual Bravery awards tonight. The work of the police is often taken for granted until you really need them. It was a humbling experience to see and meet so many officers who have shown such outstanding bravery in the line of duty and protecting us all. It was a fantastic opportunity to thank officers from all over the country who have been involved with the investigation to find Madeleine. The vast majority of those that I managed to speak to are, like us, very optimistic that we will find Madeleine safe and well.
13 Jul 07
71
Spent a large part of the day at the Child Exploitation and Online Protecetion (CEOP) headquarters in London. The work they are doing in the prevention and detection of child exploitation is fantastic and I have no doubt they are world leaders in many aspects of their work.
The statistics of child abduction in the UK, both attempted and sucessful cases, are stagggering with over 1000 reported cases in 2003/4 and the figures show a year on year increase. The scale of the problem is much larger than Kate and I ever imagined and worryingly there does not appear to be reliable statistics for many countries in Europe. Clearly a lot of work has to be done to tackle this growing problem.
Kate and I believe that someone, somewhere knows something about Madleines abduction. The events of recent weeks and the high profile of Madeleine reassure us that when the key piece of information comes in, to any law enforcement agnecy, it will be treated seriously and fed into the inquiry quiickly and actioned.
14 Jul 07
72
Kate, the twins and myself attended a family baptism today in Yorkshire where we stood as Godparents. At the end of the short service, which was lovely, prayers were said for Madeleine. It is the first time Kate has been to the UK since Madeleine disappeared but we wanted to support our family the same way they have supported us over the last ten weeks and it was great to see so many family members together. We have also taken a huge amount of strength from our faith and of course the messages of support and prayers for Madeleine from people of all faiths around the world.
15 Jul 07
73
Travelled back to Portugal today on an early morning flight. It was heartening to see various posters of Madeleine up at all the check-in desks especially with the busy holiday season underway. The flight itself was quiet for Kate and I as the twins fell asleep shortly after take-off. My mum and sister have also come out to for a few days so we managed to see a lot of family this weekend.
16 Jul 07
74
The campaign to find Madeleine received a a massive boost today from JK Rowling. The author of the massive selling Harry Potter books has asked all retailers to display a specially designed poster of Madeleine when the sixth and final book Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows goes on sale on Saturday 21st July. Ms Rowling, who lived in Portugal for several years, has offered amazing support in the search for Madeleine. As well as offering a large reward for Madeleines safe return she has also added information on Madeleines abduction on her own site with a link back to our homepage. Try and find the information at www.jkrowling.com, I will give you a clue that it is under links! A huge thank you to JK Rowling and her publishers Bloomsbury for their support.

The new poster of Madeleine has been designed in conjunction with the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (ICMEC) and this is one of the things we have been working on in the last couple of weeks. ICMEC promote awareness of missing children globally and aim to prevent child sexual exploitation and abduction. The poster features 3 pictures of Madeleine with the advice to contact the local police if you see her. ICMEC, their logo and both theirs and our websites are also on the poster. The distribution of this poster will enhance the awareness of Madeleines disappearance, which we are advised increases the chances of finding her, and the plight of other missing children.

With the announcement of the poster Kate and I also did a short interview for the press. A lot of photographs were taken of us with the poster so I suspect some of these will make it in to the newspapers in the next few days.

17 Jul 07
75
Madeleine has been missing for 75 days today and last night Kate and I attended mass to pray for her. On the back of the latest poster launch with Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows, the extensive media coverage and the millions of people who are desperate to find Madeleine, we are still very hopeful that Madeleine will be safely returned. As parents, Kate and I cannot contemplate giving up the search for our daughter.
18 Jul 07
76
Pretty busy day. Started off with a few phone calls and answering e-mails. We had a longer meeting than usual with the Portuguese police because I had gone back to London last week . We have a good relationship with them and, as well as the British officers who are in Portugal, we can feed any information sent to us back in to the enquiry through an English Speaking detective.

The investigation, as everyone has seen recently, is still very active. There is also a lot of labour intensive detective work going on behind the scenes. Kate and I hope and pray every day for a breakthrough and cannot consider going home without her.

19 Jul 07
77
I was glad to see the messages of support page updated today after a few days with some technical hitches. Kate and I spent some time reading through them and your messages do help us, especially on days when we are feeling particularly low. Our search for Madeleine is nothing without public support and we would like to give our thanks to everyone who has helped us in any way over the last 77 days.

The kids are really enjoying spending time with their granny who they have not seen for two months. They particularly enjoyed her mashed potatoes tonight which brought a big smile to my mums face. The last couple of days we have spent an hour or two by a nearby pool and their confidence in the water has really improved.

20 Jul 07
78
Kate and I spent a few hours with our campaign manager discussing longer term strategies to maintain Madeleines profile, in case she is not found soon. We had a long conference call with two organisations that are keen to help us with the campaign but there is still quite a bit of work to be done before this venture can be announced.

We also managed an early morning run together, thanks to my mum supervising the kids breakfast. We made it to the top of the cliffs overlooking Praia da Luz in 16 minutes although we did have to walk at the steepest part. I had my first visit to a nearby beach for a while with the kids late on this afternoon whilst Kate took the opportunity to get through lots of e-mails. The twins took great delight in burying me in the sand, building (well mainly knocking down) sandcastles and trying to jump out of the waves, which were tiny although the water was certainly colder than I was expecting.

21 Jul 07
79
Relatively quiet day on the campaign front. Spent the day with the kids and visited the Algarve ZooMarine which they really enjoyed, particularly the dolphins.
22 Jul 07
80
Spent the whole day travelling from the Algarve to Washington where I will be visiting the National and International Centers for Missing and Exploited Children and meeting politicians involved in recent legislation on missing children. The flights for our campaign manager and myself were kindly donated by an airline.

There is a very upsetting story on the front page of a British National Newspaper today. The headline suggests that Kate and I face prosecution for neglecting our children by dining 50 yards away and checking on them regularly. We know that there has been criticism in some quarters of our actions but at the time, we felt our actions were responsible. We were essentially performing our own baby listening service although we have talked of the guilt we felt at now being there at the moment Madeleine was taken.

We have been advised that legally our behaviour was well within the bounds of responsible parenting and subsequently been assured that no action will be taken. These types of criticism, particularly at this stage, as well as being hurtful are extremely unhelpful in the search for Madeleine. From the moment we discovered Madeleine missing Kate and I have done everything in our power to try and help get her back.

Our opinion now is completely clouded by what has happened to us and of course has sent shock waves through thousands of families. The real issue is that we should not have a constant fear of abduction of our children from their bedrooms, gardens or streets for that matter. What Kate and I did was at worst naïve and no one should forget that the real criminal is the predator who has taken a completely innocent child in such a premeditated fashion. It is this act that has wreaked havoc on our family and affected millions of other people.

23 Jul 07
81
Very busy day and I was almost asleep by the time I got back to the hotel so apologies for not posting the blog earlier. We started off by spending the morning at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). We had a tour of the NCMEC led by President Ernie Allen who has been there for 23 years and there is little he does not about missing children.

The work done at NCMEC is extremely impressive. It coordinates information for all missing children and it was the center that pushed for the implementation of the early warning missing child (AMBER) alert throughout the USA. The center was also instrumental along with the founder, John Walsh, in getting the Adam Walsh bill passed on the 25th anniversary of the young boys murder.

NCMEC officials organised a meeting with the US attorney general Gonzales at the justice department. He was already aware of Madeleine’s disappearance and has made child protection a major concern for him. I explained in a little more detail regarding Madeleine’s case and the fact that she is still missing after 81 days. He was very supportive of the campaign to keep Madeleines profile high and of the work that we are doing with NCMEC and its International division (ICMEC).

We went back to NCMEC in the afternoon and I had detailed discussions with some of the experts there regarding Madeleines disappearance. We also had a board meeting with ICMEC regarding working together on other developments in raising the profile of missing children particularly using internet resources.

Finished the day off with an interview for Americas Most Wanted who have been following Madeleines abduction almost since the beginning. The programme is actually hosted by John Walsh and has massive viewing figures of around 12 million.

24 Jul 07
82
Another busy day in Washington. Started early on at NCMEC with interviews from 6.15am for the five major US TV networks morning news shows. A very serious issues programme 20-20 was also recording our visit to the America, as they will also be producing a piece on the search to find Madeleine.

Late morning we had a visit to the White House to meet with the First Lady’s deputy chief of staff Sarah Armstrong. This visit was facilitated by Lady Catherine Meyer, founder of the British charity PACT, which is an affiliate of ICMEC and has done so much to raise awareness of missing children in the UK. Mrs Bush is a strong supporter of child welfare issues and is in fact an Honorary Board member of ICMEC. They were already aware of Madeleines disappearance and I took the opportunity to fill them in on my visit to Washington, particularly the work we are doing with ICMEC and the meeting we had with the attorney general. We finished with a very quick tour of the public areas in the White House which is a very impressive building and we also met one of the Presidents Scottish terriers! Immediately following the visit I did a few interviews for the British Media in front of the White House.

After a very brief lunch it was on to Capitol Hill for meetings with politicians who have been instrumental in getting the Adam Walsh BIll and others passed. We met with Democrat congressman Nick Lampson and Republican Senator Robert Shelby who both know the board members of NCMEC very well. They were both very keen to do what they could to help find Madeleine and the support during the visit we have received has been tremendous.

I spoke to Kate and the kids, whose telephone skills are developing very quickly which is nice for me when I am away like this. Kate has stayed on in Portugal and has been keeping in touch with the police but there are no major developments to report. In the evening I managed to meet up with a friend from Glasgow who is also a cardiologist and working in the Washington area. We went for a bite to eat and it was good to sit down quietly with a familiar face for an hour or two.

25 Jul 07
83
Up early this morning catching up with e-mails and phone calls as well as updating the blog. Managed another early morning run, round Washington centre this time, which is quite beautiful with grand buildings and monuments separated by wide grassy areas.

I had another meeting with another congressman Mike Rogers who is an ex-FBI agent and we distributed wristbands to Nick Lampson and some of his colleagues as well as members of NCMEC

This afternoon we had a meeting with the British Ambassador at his residence to update him on our meetings. The Embassy itself is a stunning building almost rivalling the Whitehouse

Flying back to Portugal this evening to get back to the family. I have no doubt that this visit to Washington has been extremely productive and will really help to maintain Madeleines profile. We will continue to work closely with ICMEC who have incredible experience and energy in dealing with missing children.

26 Jul 07
84
Spent most of the day travelling getting back to Portugal late afternoon. It was great to be back with Kate and the kids after the short visit to Washington. It was also great to see so many pictures from the 50th day balloon launch on the website.

A lot of people have been asking what can they do to maintain the search for Madeleine. The advice we have had consistently from the beginning, and very much re-emphasised by the experience of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children is to maintain a high profile for the missing child. This can be achieved by relatively simple measures such as displaying posters in prominent public places. We ask people to continue downloading posters from the website and display them at bus stations, train stations and of course take them on holiday. Kate and I would like to thank everyone who desperately wants us to be reunited with Madeleine and have helped in this regard.

27 Jul 07
85
Quite a lot of e-mails and telephone calls today planning future events, which might be helpful to keep Madeleine in peoples minds. I am sure there will be a lot of interest in Saturday August 11th if Madeline because that will mark 100 days if Madeleine is still missing. This date coincides with the world pipe band championships being held in Glasgow. A former world pipe band champion, Alasdair Gillies who is a friend of one of my sisters, has composed a Marvellous March for Madeleine that will be played by 100 pipers from all over the world. It should be quite a spectacle and hopefully it will be a celebration, and not a another marker that Madeleine is still missing.
28 Jul 07
86
Quiet family day, as is often the case of a Saturday. It has become blisteringly hot here over the last few days and we decided to take the kids down to the beach early morning. Even then it was hot and there was almost no breeze although the water is still very cold. Met a very nice Portuguese couple who offered us good wishes in trying to find Madeleine.
29 Jul 07
87
Dropped Trisha and Sandy off at the airport this morning for an emotional farewell. They have offered us the most unbelievable support and I am not sure how we would have functioned without them here. They have been the silent face of the campaign to find Madeleine, putting their lives on hold to help us get through each difficult day. From time to time we will have other friends and family coming to Portugal to see the kids and catch up with Kate and I.
30 Jul 07
88
We had a routine meeting today with the Portuguese police. Kate and I are confident that every avenue is being explored and the vital piece of information that leads to Madeleine is only a phone call away.

This is the last time we will have met the Consul General in a professional capacity, as he retires tomorrow and will be returning to the UK. Bill has provided us with consular support since day 1 and, naturally, he got to know us very well during the last 3 months. He has said that Madeleines abduction is the most tragic circumstance he has had to deal with. Without doubt Bill has given us excellent support and we wish him and his wife a very happy retirement.

31 Jul 07
89
Relatively quiet day apart from phone calls and campaign related e-mails. We have Busy couple of days coming up so off to bed relatively early (before midnight)!
August 2007
Date
Day
Blog
01 Aug 2007
90
Another trip to the airport this morning to pick up our campaign manager. Kate did a series of interviews for womens magazines and the Sunday newspapers which took most of the afternoon. Kates parents, who we visit regularly at home, also arrived and the twins were very happy to see them. They will be staying with us for a week.

We have had some new posters designed of Madeleine, in Portuguese and Spanish, which I have been printing out to distribute locally. I also did some filming to camera which we might use on the website and for future events.

02 Aug 07
91
Today was a bit of a write off for me as I was laid low with a probable viral illness which meant I could not stray too far from the house! I did manage to get through some e-mails, telephone calls and some paperwork. Feeling a bit better tonight so hopefully be back to normal tomorrow.

Kate did manage to put up some of the new Madeleine posters in shops around Praia da Luz.. It is noticably busier, now that we are in August, with lots of tourists many of whom are from Portugal. The figures from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children show that one in six kids are recovered after being recognised from a poster. Such statistics do encourage us that relatively simple measures may be effective in helping us find Madeleine.

03 Aug 07
92
It is exactly 3 months since Madeleine was abducted. Kate and I had an early start as we drove to Huelva, 50Km over the border from Portugal in Southern Spain. We were meant to go yesterday but had to cancel because I was ill.

Unfortunately it was a public holiday in Huelva and the large shopping centre we planned to visit was closed. We did distribute posters in several garages, taxi ranks and the bus and train stations and gave out some Madeleine wristbands. This was definitely a worthwhile exercise, as many people did not seemingly recognise Madeleine but we did get a very warm response from the Spanish people we met. We would encourage everyone to continue taking posters on holiday but please ask permission before putting them up in public places.

When we arrived back in Praia da Luz we did a couple of media interviews to building up to August 11th, which will mark 100 days if Madeleine is still missing. There will be a lot of media activity next week reviewing Madeleine’s abduction, the investigation and of course the campaign to help find her. It is an opportunity to highlight that we have not given up hope and are still optimistic of being reunited with Madeleine.

Tonight we prayed for Madeleine at a vigil in the church. This has happened every Friday since Madeleines abduction and was very well attended tonight, probably due to the greater number of tourists in the resort.

04 Aug 07
93
Another early start to the day as I dropped the crew who did some filming for the website and other forthcoming events. Kate and I did a short interview reviewing the last 3 months and the search for Madeleine. We spent the rest of the day with the kids and Kate’s family. We were all glad it clouded over in the afternoon to give us some respite from the intense heat.

The most recent searches by the police have attracted a lot of renewed media interest with satellite trucks arriving back in Praia da Luz. It is likely that some of the British Broadcasters will also come back out.

We werre all very tired and we managed to get off to bed at 10.30pm, which is very early for us by recent standards.

05 Aug 07
94
We attended church this morning as usual. The local priest father Manuel is on holiday so the mass was all in Portuguese and although quicker than normal we did not understand too much of the sermon.

I note there was a lot of coverage of Kates interview in the Sunday newspapers today. I managed to read one of them and certainly seemd to sum up very well how we are feeling and coping without Madeleine. The key message is that we are doing everything we can to help find Madeleine.

After lunch we had a meeting with our campaign manager and Kates family to run through a few things which will be happening this week. There was going to be a lot of media here leading up to the 100 days although we still hope we will not get to that marker, even before this latest search by the Portuguese police.

Kate and I popped back down to the church later on tonight to say a few quiet prayers for Madeleine. The town is much busier at night than when we first came here on holiday and ieven compared to a few weeks ago.

Computer glitches now sorted out thanks to Calum at infohost.

06 Aug 07
95
Today was again very busy. Lots of e-mails and telephone calls to family and friends who have been involved in the campaign to find Madeleine. I went to a large office store in Portimao to buy a new printer and ink, both of which were badly needed after all the posters we produced this last week.
There has been lots of media attention on the latest police searches. We are pleased that the investigation remains so active and we are cooperating fully with the Portuguese and British police, as we have done since day 1. We continue to hope and pray daily for that vital breakthrough or sighting that will lets us be reunited as a family.
07 Aug 07
96
Kate and I managed an early morning run today. It was pleasantly cooler, with a refreshing breeze, which made a nice change. The media presence in Praia da Luz is at its greatest since the first couple of weeks, as is the amount of speculation and rumour regarding the investigation.

This morning we agreed to do a short, pooled interview that was made available to all broadcasters worldwide. We wanted to make it clear, that as far as we know, there is still absolutely no evidence that Madeleine has been seriously harmed and Kate and I have to believe she is still alive. The Portuguese police have assured us on numerous occasions that they are looking for Madeleine and not a corpse. Of course all possibilities are being considered and the police
have to be certain before eliminating any of the scenarios. It is absolutely right that we are subject to the same high standards of investigation as anyone else. Kate and I have, and will continue to assist the police in every possible way.

We hope there is a breakthrough in the investigation very soon. In the meantime the campaign to keep the public involved in the search for Madeleine continues. We are always trying to think of ideas that will reach people who may not have heard of Madeleines disappearance. I spent a couple of hours this afternoon working on forthcoming events but did manage to squeeze in a much-needed haircut!

08 Aug 07
97
Kates parents left early this morning. We did a short interview on how our faith has helped us during the last 3 months since Madeleines abduction. Given the events of the last few days we need to draw even greater strength from our faith and everyone who has supported us.

With the huge amount of media attention on us again it is very difficult to do anything with the kids without them being filmed and it is unfair on them. There is a huge amount of speculation in the media that Madeleine is dead, particularly with the obvious change in strategy of the investigation recently. At our meeting with the Portuguese police today we reaffirmed that we have to believe Madeleine is alive until there is concrete evidence to the contrary. It is this belief that has driven everything we have done in relation to publicising Madeleines disappearance over the last 3 months.

09 Aug 07
98
We did a series of pooled interviews for TV and the press. The focus was to discuss the launch of the YouTube channel Don’t you forget about me which we have devised in conjunction with Google and the International Center for Missing and Exploited Children. YouTube is used by tens of millions of people mainly in the 16-24 age group. We think this is an incredibly exciting innovation to raise awareness of missing children. The channel is launched at lunchtime today and will have other videos of missing children. Families and other agencies will be able to upload videos of children that will help to raise awareness of their disappearance.

The rest of the interviews focussed on the events of the last week. We again emphasised that we do not know of any evidence that Madeleine has been seriously harmed and everything we have done is in the belief it is likely to increase the chances of finding her. Unfortunately the media attention has been very intrusive and we have taken the children out of kids club due to the disruption caused. We hope this settles down and the kids can get back into their routine which has kept them very settled in the last 98 days. It is a shame that the media attention has also impacted on other holidaymakers which we certainly dont want.

We did manage to have a quiet dinner with our family and the kids.

10 Aug 07
99

Today Kate and I did a series of TV interviews for Portuguese and foreign TV. It has always been very important to us that we speak to the Portuguese people directly since we are in their country and have received such tremendous support, particularly from the local community. We again talked about the YouTube channel Don’t You Forget Me which was launched yesterday. Naturally we were also asked about the events of this week, which has been incredibly difficult for us with wild speculation in the media. We have always been told that the police had an open mind about Madeleines abduction and that all scenarios were possible.

In the first few days after Madeleines disappearance it was so difficult for us not to imagine the worst case scenario: that she had been taken and murdered, particularly in light of the statistics on child abduction. However as the massive investigation and extensive search did not find any evidence of serious harm to Madeleine, we started to hope that she would be found alive. This belief has been encouraged by the police and reinforced by the experts at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children on my recent visit to Washington. There have been a number of children recovered, even after years of abduction, and whom the authorities had thought must be dead.

Everything we have done in the last 99 days in the campaign to help find Madeleine has been driven by fact that all our family and friends feel that there is a reasonable chance Madeleine is still alive. Kate and I, like all parents of missing children will always have that hope unless we see concrete evidence to the contrary. It is this hope that has sustained us along with the overwhelming support we have received from family, friends and well-wishers. As parents, we have always said we need to know what has happened to our daughter who has been such a massive part of our life. If the current police activity does uncover new evidence that Madeleine has been seriously harmed we should be the first to know.

We have always felt that the best chance of finding Madeleine is through the police investigation. We have done our best to get relevant information in to the enquiry, particularly from tourists who were in the Algarve around the time of her abduction. The fact that Madeleine could have been moved out of Portugal easily in the first few hours has been the reason the campaign has had to have an international dimension. One in six missing children in North America are found as a direct result of high awareness through distribution of posters and media exposure.

Tonight we attended the weekly vigil to pray for Madeleine and other missing children. These services have a calm serenity, which allow us to contemplate quietly. There was also a vigil in Rothley attended by family and friends. Tomorrow we will be marking the 100 day very quietly with a prayer service in Praia da Luz. Other family will be at the world pipe band chamionships in Glasgow and on the streets in Liverpool. A number of sporting events will also be marking the day.

11 Aug 07
100
Day100. Just another day but a significant milestone that we prayed we would never have to face without Madeleine. The prayer service here in Praia da Luz had a huge media presence, but in no way being intrusive, all aligned outside. The service itself was fantastically well attended with a huge turnout from the local community, which was very important to us.
 
The service was very comforting. There were contributions from Kate and myself, our family, the Anglican and Portuguese communities. Haynes, the Anglican minister, said a few poignant words about the events of this week, which were very touching. We said prayers for Madeleine and other children who are suffering. Everyone in the congregation lit candles, which were placed on the altar. The message from the service was that although 100 days have passed we have not given up hope of finding Madeleine.
 
In the afternoon we went to a local swimming pool and play area with the kids and their cousins. They had a great time swimming, playing with tennis balls and generally messing around. Needless to say they also managed an ice cream! It has been really good for the twins having other children here, especially since they have not been to the kids club for a few days.
 
We spoke to our family about the events in Glasgow and Liverpool. There was warm response at both venues and clearly many people are very happy to show support. Unfortunately we did not see any of the coverage on television. We did see highlights of the English premier league last night and note many of the clubs chose to wear Madeleine t-shirts and wristbands as well as playing the Don’t You Forget About Me video. There was also events at the rugby internationals and Ascot racecourse with 12 international jockeys wearing Madeleine t-shirts. The fact that so many people are prepared to show solidarity with us in our search for our daughter does help restore our faith in humanity.
 
There was a statement from the Portuguese police today regarding the recent activity in the investigation and media speculation. They confirmed that there are new leads and that we are not suspects in Madeleines disappearance. Other tests are outstanding and Kate and I do hope that these take us forward in finding out who took Madeleine and where she is. Unfortunately we have to add patience to our other characteristics.

12 Aug 07
101
My brother and his family left early this morning. It was great having them here for a few days, particularly for the twins to be able to play with their ‘big’ cousins. They also were a great help to us especially during these very busy last few days.

We went to mass this morning, which was extremely busy with all the holidaymakers who are here. There was also a lot of media outside but the village is starting to return to normal again after the events of last week leading up to the 100 days since Madeleine disappeared.

A couple of other friends and their daughter have come out to stay with us this week, which really helps. We had a fairly quiet afternoon, spent with the kids who remain very happy. They speak about their big sister frequently and seem to want to look after cuddle cat as much as mummy!

13 Aug 07
102
Praia da Luz is slowly returning to normal. The number of TV crews has reduced dramatically and we have been able to get back to more of our normal routine here. There is still a large media presence particularly of print journalists who are waiting, like everyone else, for the next development in the police investigation. We are still optimistic that there will be a breakthrough. In the meantime however, little has changed for Kate and I. We will not give up hope until Madeleine is found and we will not stop searching for her.

The campaign, as planned, will enter a quieter phase again. We have always envisaged that media attention focussed on Madeleine and us would quieten down and just occasionally we would try to remind people that Madeleine is still missing and that we are still looking. There cannot be many people who do not know these facts after the events of this last week. As well as the find Madeleine campaign we will be working closely with ICMEC and it is heartening to see
so many visitors to the YouTube don’t you forget about me channel for missing children.

Kate and I would also like to thank the thousands of people who have sent us messages of support over the last few days. It really does help and we know that you will keep looking for Madeleine.

14 Aug 07
103
Relatively quiet day. This allowed me to catch up with e-mails, phone calls and some administration. No major news on any front.

The weather has been unseasonably cool over the last 2-3 days. I have had a long sleeved top on for the first time in over 2 months and it is more pleasant overnight, making sleep easier. 

15 Aug 07
104
It is the feast of the assumption today, which is a holiday in Portugal. This morning we attended mass, which was very busy and again many of the local community asked after Madeleine and said the word ‘force’, meaning strength.

This afternoon Kate and I did a combined interview for the Liverpool Post and the Leicester Mercury this afternoon. We said a big thank you to their readers for all their support and good wishes.

16 Aug 07
105
As well as the huge number of messages of support we have had a large increase in letters of support. We did some photos of us opening the mail and we received some lovely messages and a few symbols of hope. Afterwards I made a lot of phone calls and managed to catch up with all my e-mails.

Late afternoon we were invited round to a friends house with a pool which the kids and I really enjoyed. We stayed for dinner and the kids fell asleep on the way back to our house. Our accommodation is a very modest family home and, most definitely, not a luxury villa, as was reported in one of the Portuguese newspapers yesterday. I can confirm that it does not have a swimming pool, 2 storeys and in fact was amongst the cheapest accommodation available, at short notice, in Luz in August. I would also like to point out that Madeleines fund has not paid for any of our accommodation in Portugal.

17 Aug 07
106
Relatively quiet day. We are looking at what other avenues we ca explore which might help us find Madeleine. Obviously we are desperate for a breakthrough in the investigation and we always try to look forward and ask what can still be done? The official PJ Spokesman Olegario da Sousa did an interview for Portuguese TV the other day and we will add the text of this interview to the news links so everyone can read the full interview.

I still have lots of e-mails and phone calls to answer every day. We spent quite a bit of time opening and reading all the mail that arrived which generally encourage us to keep going and not give up hope.

Late afternoon we took the twins to the beach for a couple of hours. The weather has become warmer again but the kids are still reluctant to get into the sea, which is pretty cold. They love playing in the sand and like most kids, building sandcastles but especially knocking them down.

This evening we had another vigil for Madeleine and other lost children. The priest who married us and is a good friend led the service that was conducted in English and Portuguese. The church was almost full but there was a calm serenity and sense of peace, which I find, helps me achieve an inner calm despite the turmoil in lives.

18 Aug 07
107
Kate took our friends to the airport early this morning. Otherwise it was a quiet family day. We have met some incredibly lovely people in the last few months. Today we caught up with a fantastic couple that met in London and lived there for 35 years before retiring to the Algarve. They have been incredibly kind to us and the twins very much enjoyed the apple cake we had with them.

This afternoon we had a British visitor ho came to offer us a different type of support. He has been through an ordeal similar to ours involving one of his family. It was good to talk about our emotions, the pressures and different coping strategies that we use in an ongoing trauma, with someone who has experienced a tragic event like ours.

19 Aug 07
108
I went to the airport this morning to pick up one of Kates friends who has come out to help for a few days. Kate went to church this morning as usual. We spent a couple of hours reading mail and answering e-mails.

Donations to Madeleines fund have topped £1million pounds. We would like to thank everyone who has donated to the fund and we will ensure that no stone is left unturned in the search for Madeleine. I will also ensure that the donations figure on the website is officially updated! The establishment of the fund, which was created in response to so many people offering financial assistance, lifted a huge weight off our shoulders. Madeleines fund allows us to make decisions regarding our search for Madeleine for the right reasons- with the boards approval of course- and not out of financial necessity. We did hope that the main objective of the fund would have been fulfilled long before now.

Tonight Kate and I went for a run together. It was the first time I have been for 10 days and I definitely feel better for it. I have made a mental note to get some form of aerobic exercise in at least 2-3 times per week as it does help me both physically and mentally.

20 Aug 07
109
I had a predominately quiet but productive day. I spent most of it at the computer or on the phone. We keep in regular touch with both the Portuguese and British police but there has been no major news in the last couple of days.

We did not do any exercise today but plan to run tomorrow morning- especially as I am off to bed for an early night!

21 Aug 07
110
We did manage our early morning run today although not quite to the top of the hill due to time limitation. After dropping the twins off at the kids club we did interviews for the 3 biggest selling Spanish newspapers. The message was that we still believe there is a reasonable chance Madeleine is still alive and we are still looking for her.

We were also asked about what is being written about the investigation and pointed out how much of this is pure speculation. We directed them to the official Portuguese police statements that are very sober in comparison. A statement was released this evening through the Portuguese news agency LUSA. This is the translation of what was reported on Portuguese TV station SIC:

The news that points to the existence of an English suspect, close to the couple, connected to the disappearance of Madeleine on the 3rd May in the Algarve, “does not come” from the PJ and has no “logic whatsoever”, according to what the inspector Olegário Sousa told Lusa.

22 Aug 07
111
I had another early morning drive to the airport- I could almost do it with my eyes shut. After dropping the kids off we had some photos taken with the results of a survey of UK and European parliament MP’s. The survey results, commissioned by the find Madeleine campaign, will be published tomorrow and demonstrate strong support for changes in European legislation following Madeleine’s abduction.

Kate is keen to get in touch with a very nice mum, who she spoke with at the toddler pool in the Ocean Club on Sunday 3rd June. She is sure you will remember the conversation and Kate would be grateful if you could get in touch at with her at campaign@findmadeleine.com

23 Aug 07
112
Another early morning start but this time for a series of radio interviews to discuss the survey of MP’s and MEP’s. The survey shows overwhelming support for the introduction of a Europe wide sex offenders register. There is also support to implement a child rescue alert, using local media to inform the community when a child has been abducted and felt to be at serious risk.

There have also been calls for changes in the way child abduction cases are handled in Europe to provide the best expertise available, quickly to the investigating police force. We are uncertain if these measures were in place if it would have made any difference to us finding Madeleine. Kate and I do hope that future changes in legislation and practice will help prevent cases of child abduction and also increase the chances of successfully finding missing children in such circumstances.

Although very serious cases like Madeleine’s (stereotypical kidnapping) are rare, it is very difficult to determine the scale of the problem, as there is no consistency in data collection across Europe. We agree with two leading British Charities (PACT and missing persons) that such data have to be collected with greater accuracy so that the frequency of serious crimes against children can be reliably documented- ideally such data should be available across the EU. Europe is probably 25 years behind the USA in such regard. Change has been driven by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) and by families who have suffered high profile child abductions.

Travelled back to the UK tonight to attend to a few personal matters before heading to Edinburgh. I have just heard about the shooting of 11-year-old Rhys Jones in Liverpool. This murder is such a tragic waste of a young life and our heartfelt sympathy goes out to Rhys family.

24 Aug 07
113
I started the day early with a pooled telephone interview for the press to talk about the media coverage of the campaign to find Madeleine in advance of my interview at the Edinburgh International TV festival. We touched on the coverage of the investigation and of course the wild speculation and innuendo being reported in some quarters. Although Kate, our friends and myself would love to correct much of the inaccuracy we will not divulge information publicly which might help the perpetrator of Madeleines abduction cover his tracks.

Travelled to Edinburgh this afternoon and managed to keep up the aerobic exercise with 25 minutes in the gym. I then met up with one of our friends who has been instrumental in distributing images of Madeleine and who produced the DVD of her to ‘Don’t you forget about me’. We had a bite to eat and took the chance to update each other on what has been happening in the last few weeks.

Off to bed for an early night after speaking to Kate, who has some family staying with her in Portugal whilst I am in the UK.

25 Aug 07
114
Kirsty Wark interviewed me at the Edinburgh International TV festival this morning. It was very well attended, especially considering the 9.30 start on a Saturday morning. It is difficult to explain why Madeleines disappearance has generated so much media coverage and why it has been so sustained. I am certain that the coverage would not have been nearly as great if this had happened 10 years ago. The use of mobile phones, the internet, low-cost airlines and 24 hour news channels have changed the world we live in- making it seem smaller. No doubt Madeleines physical appearance also captured the publics imagination as well as the highly unusual circumstances of a foreign child being abducted on holiday.

Our family decided to try and make as many people as possible aware that Madeleine was missing quickly. Family members did frequent TV interviews and friends distributed images of Madeline to news outlets. My sister started the electronic campaign proper by sending a chain e-mail with a poster of Madeleine, which was quickly advertised by Sky and downloaded by thousands of people. Celebrities, sporting stars and ordinary people wanted to help, almost certainly because they felt the same feeling of helplessness that we did. After the first few weeks we fully expected the media attention to die down but this has just not happened.

Some sections of the media now question their roles in the coverage of the news story that is Madeleine. Kate and I quickly realised that much of the coverage was pure speculation, which was often negative and certainly unhelpful for us. We decided to rely on information only from official sources and this has certainly helped us remain on a fairly even keel despite some of the lurid headlines.

I left Edinburgh early afternoon but spent most of the day travelling as I had to fly back to Portugal via Luton. I managed to get some work done and write my blog on the way back. It was great to see Kate and the kids again after 2 days.

26 Aug 07
115
I attended mass this morning but Kate did not go as she went to the English speaking service last night. It was good to see the local parish priest, father Jose back after a couple of weeks on retreat.

This afternoon was spent with the twins who remain very happy and help Kate and me keep looking forward.

27 Aug 07
116
No major news to report. Most of my day was spent on e-mails and telephone calls.
Kate I went for a run together in the early evening along the waterfront and then we popped into church for 10 minutes to pray for Madeleine. We had dinner with Kates family who are over here just now. Sean and Amelie are particularly enjoying having some older kids around.
28 Aug 07
117
We, like everyone else, await the results of the forensics from the recent searches. We do not know who has taken Madeleine or why. Sometimes people do things for reasons that even they cannot understand. An act of madness, an accident or sudden impulse can lead to consequences that people may never have imagined or intended. Faced with such a situation we believe any human soul will ultimately suffer torment and feelings of guilt and fear.

If you have done something you regret, if you find yourself in a situation you never intended, it is not too late to do the right thing. Please come forward, return Madeleine, leave her in a place of safety. At the very least, help us by letting us know what has happened to our beautiful little girl.

29 Aug 07
118
Relatively quiet day. Kate and I did one interview in the morning for a newspaper- that I managed to finish, probably because the journalist stuck to questions that I am allowed to give answers to!

This afternoon and evening was mostly spent at my computer and a couple of hours with the kids. Their constant chatter with each other is quite entertaining.

30 Aug 07
119
Kate and I managed an early morning run, finishing by running up the steep hill. It got a difficult day for us off to a good start.
 
Madeleine was due to start school today. It has been hard not to imagine how excited she would have been and how she would have looked in her school uniform. Kate and I would like to thank the pupils, parents, teachers and headmistress for their continued support and prayers. We would like to wish all the new pupils much happiness and we hope pray that Madeleine will be able to join her fellow classmates soon.

31 Aug 07
120
Those of who you that read the blog regularly know how difficult it has been for us not to respond to many of the slurs against our behaviour leading up to Madeleines disappearance. We have consistently stated that we will not put new information into the public domain that might jeopardise the investigation and in fact, we are constrained by Portuguese Law as witnesses from doing so.

There has been some wild speculation reported in the press about what may have happened to Madeleine. Most of the innuendo regarding Kate and me has died down in light of the statements from the official Portuguese Police spokesperson. However last Friday, a Portuguese newspaper published a front-page headline ‘PJ believes that the parents killed Maddie’. We firmly believe that the report was speculative, defamatory and published despite official statements to the contrary.

As well as damaging our personal and professional reputations, such allegations smear the investigation, the campaign to find Madeleine and cause great offence and anxiety to all our family. This is why, after careful consideration, we have issued a writ against the newspaper for defamation. Our focus has, and always will be, on doing our best to help find Madeleine. This lurid allegation is so serious and wide of the mark that we feel it cannot go unchallenged.

The legal expenses for the proceedings will not be paid from Madeleines fund.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*