MUM & DAD'S VIGIL FOR SNATCHED
TOT LOCALS APPLAUD THEM ON DAY SHE TURNS FOUR
MISSING Madeleine McCann's
parents put on brave smiles yesterday as an emotional church
service helped them cope with their agony.
At times during the weekend,
distraught mum Kate clutched a rag doll she had bought for
the tot's fourth birthday - but never got the chance to hand
And dad Gerry spoke of a
"tidal wave" of devastation caused by her abduction ten days
ago. What should have been a day of joy was agony as her
family waited for news on the kidnapped little girl.
Maddie should have been
blowing out candles on her Dr Who cake. But the only candles
flickering were at sombre vigils for her.
Kate and Gerry, both 38, drew
huge comfort from mass at the church in Praia da Luz,
Portugal, where they were on holiday
when Maddie vanished.
Gerry told villagers who have
given heartwarming support: "We are looking forward to the
day when Madeleine returns to us as a joyous one. We believe
that we will see Madeleine soon and she will be safe and
well and we will continue to hope."
As they left they were greeted
by children holding balloons and a crowd of villagers, who
Mr McCann told the
congregation: "Today we should be celebrating the fourth
birthday of our daughter Madeleine.
"Instead we have had to
remember what a normal, beautiful, vivacious, funny,
courageous and loving little girl that we are missing today.
"I like to think about the
effects of Madeleine's abduction from us nine days ago like
a tidal wave. The devastation which was tremendous was
greatest for Kate and me."
And he added: "The devastation
affects everyone we meet here in the resort and has affected
"The tidal wave did not stop
here, it has travelled many miles across Europe, across the
Europe, where we have many
friends and family."
Gerry also spoke movingly of
the "tremendous outpouring of warmth" from people in
GP Kate has lost almost a
stone in weight since Maddie was abducted and is unable to
eat properly or sleep without sedatives. She looked frail,
gaunt and haggard yesterday.
At an earlier service, the
couple followed a Portuguese tradition of wearing green and
carrying green branches to the 16th Century church as a sign
Local mechanic Pedro Melo, 25,
explained: "We want Madeleine's parents to know how much we
care. We feel like crying for them. Their pain must be so
A picture of Maddie, whose
face can be seen on lamp posts and in shop windows across
the town, was pinned near the altar - set in a red heart.
As the service neared its end,
a single piece of green string was passed through the crowd
right to the back of the church until everyone was holding
it - uniting them with the McCanns.
Back in the UK Maddie's
relatives and family friends were also anxiously awaiting
A party in
Glasgow planned for her birthday by uncle and
aunt John and Philomena was put on hold. John, 48 said:
"There was no point in having a birthday party without
Madeleine - but the party has only been postponed, not
"We are going to have it when
she comes back and then it will be a massive party."
Philomena, 43, spent the day
handing out 15,000 posters to football fans outside
ground, hoping to jog the memory of supporters who may have
Maddie's grandparents in
Liverpool, Brian and Susan
Healey, told last night how they were "storming heaven" for
her. Susan, 61, said: "Please God she will be back to blow
her birthday candles out. She loved to blow out candles.
"It is hard for everybody but
with the help of our friends it's possible to keep going. We
have to keep Madeleine in the spotlight, we have to have
Madeleine brought home."
Brian, 67, pleaded to Maddie's
kidnappers: "Please just bring her home. The support we have
had is immense. We are storming heaven trying to find her."
have tied yellow ribbons and pink balloons to their fences.
The village square inRothley, Leics, where the McCanns live,
has become a place of pilgrimage for hundreds of people
wanting to show support.
The war memorial has been
decorated with a thousand yellow ribbons. Next to it stands
a 3ft pink and white rabbit, flanked by dozens of teddy
bears. Among the hundreds of scrawled notes were many from
children, not much older than Maddie.
One from Alex, eight, and
Cameron, five, read: "We are thinking about you on your
birthday and hoping you will come home safely. Hope you get
to cuddle the teddy soon."
Staff at Leicester's
where Gerry is a cardiologist and at Kate's GP surgery in
Melton Mowbray have held vigils.
The McCanns arrived back at
their resort apartment at 4pm yesterday after spending the
day with their twins Sean and Amelie, two, in a brave bid to
carry on as normally as possible. Amelie was carrying a red
balloon. Kate hugged Sean, who was carrying a green balloon.
Gerry smiled and paused for photographs and kissed Amelie
gently as they walked into the apartment.
Last night Kate arrived for
Mass clutching a blanket from her missing daughter's bed.
She was wearing shorts and a yellow top and held Maddie's
Cuddle Cat tightly as she held her husband's hand. Green and
yellow ribbons have been tied to the church doors - green
the Portuguese symbol of hope and yellow in remembrance of
Brown expressed his sympathy for Maddie's parents.
At a meeting in
the PM-in-waiting said: "Every parent will be sympathising
in their hour of need."
Hundreds of ex-pat Brits
gathered in Praia da Luz yesterday to tie yellow ribbons
wherever they could in support.
The railings in front of their
holiday complex were covered in the colourful tributes,
alongside bunches of yellow flowers and cuddly toys.
Claire Borges, originally from
Banbury, Oxfordshire, said: "We feel like we've been hit in
the stomach. Every day you pray for good news."
Today is a Portuguese
religious holiday known as Miracle Day - in which the
faithful pray for lost causes.