The message from the parents of snatched
holiday toddler Madeleine McCann was written on white
card and tied to a pink balloon that soared high into a
pale blue sky.
It read simply: "Mummy and Daddy, Sean
and Amelie will see you soon."
Simple and unfussy but determined and
hope-filled, it echoed sentiments expressed earlier
yesterday - Madeleine's fourth birthday - when
distraught Kate and Gerry McCann made another appeal for
the safe return of their daughter.
Scroll down for more...
smiling with twins Amelie and Sean
The couple, both 38, said in a statement:
"Today is our daughter Madeleine's fourth birthday. We
would like to mark today by asking people to redouble
their efforts to help find Madeleine.
"We know that there is already a huge
amount of effort and resource being put into the search
for our daughter.
"We also know that offers of support are
being made daily. It is this that keeps us strong and
gives us hope. On Madeleine's birthday, please keep
looking, please keep praying, please help bring
The balloon - released by Madeleine's
great-uncle Brian Kennedy - was one of 40 that filled
the sky around the McCanns' former home in Queniborough,
Leicestershire, not far from where they now live in the
where Madeleine was snatched ten days ago from a Mark
Warner resort at Praia da Luz, her parents retreated to
a private villa to spend time with their two-year-old
twins Sean and Amelie. They had
Madeleine enjoying some horseplay with
father Gerry and
been staying 100 yards from the holiday
apartment where their daughter was kidnapped.
They have bought Madeleine a green doll
for her birthday - the colour symbolises a hopeful
return in Portugal - and still behave as if she is with
them, a close friend of GP Kate said yesterday after
spending a week with the family.
Fitness instructor Nicola Gill, 38, also
revealed how Sean and Amelie blow kisses and hugs when
they see their sister's picture on television.
And attempting to keep things as normal
as possible for the twins, the McCanns buy an extra ice
cream for Madeleine when they go out.
Scroll down for more...
Mother-of-three Nicola said after
Liverpool: "The twins are old
enough to sense there is something going on.
"They knew it was Madeleine's birthday
today. They often ask where Madeleine is. We keep saying
her name and when we buy ice creams we buy one for
Of the couple, she said: "Today was their
hardest. They are not coming home unless Maddy is with
The McCanns believe Madeleine's
distinctive right eye - where her pupil merges into the
blue-green iris - will be vital in getting her back.
It can be clearly seen on an appeal
Mrs McCann said: "We want to make
the most of it, because we know her hair could
potentially be cut or dyed."
The couple spent the hours before Maddy's
birthday at a late-night vigil in the
Nossa Senhora Da Luz,
joined by more than 300 others.
Villagers near the McCann's former home
release 40 pink balloons yesterday to mark
the birthday of Madeleine
Sources close to police claim they are on
the track of Madeleine's abductors. The McCanns are
understood to have viewed CCTV footage of two men and a
woman seen with a blonde girl who looked like Madeleine
near a petrol station.