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Madeleine's grandmother still has Christmas present for her

HOMEPAGE NEWS REPORTS INDEX FAMILY PHOTOS NEWS DECEMBER 2008
Original Source:  HERALD.IE: TUESDAY 30 DECEMBER 2008
By Kevin Doyle Tuesday December 30 2008
 
THE grandmother of missing girl Madeleine McCann had a Christmas present ready for the five-year-old this year.

For the second Christmas in a row, Eileen McCann left a large pink teddy bear on Madeleine's bed, as she clings to hope that she will return home.

Donegal-born Eileen, who lives in Scotland, is spending the holidays with her son Gerry, his wife Kate and Madeleine's younger siblings, twins Sean and Amelie.

It is the second Christmas that the family is spending without Madeleine, and Eileen had predicted it would be difficult for everyone.

Asked how everyone is coping with the holiday season, she said "so, so".

Last year, she decided that a huge pink teddy with a white heart on it, a gift to her from the Scottish government, would be her present for Madeleine.

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And just as she was about to travel to Leicester for the holidays, she told the Herald that she has held on to it all year, in the hope that Madeleine would return for this Christmas.

However, that now seems unlikely, and Mrs McCann said: "It's still in my house. I keep it on the bed."

Speaking from her home near Glasgow, Mrs McCann added: "I'm going down to stay with them [Gerry and Kate] for Christmas."

She said that the McCann family will try to enjoy Christmas as best they can under the circumstances.

Several days before Christmas, the family released previously unseen footage of Madeleine playing with her brother and sister around Christmas 2006, the last one she spent with them.

She is seen interacting with her parents and the twins, and talking about her new pink shoes.

The little girl, who was three at the time, is seen playfully jumping up and down.

Meanwhile, the family's friends in Ireland said they have been praying for the missing child over Christmas.

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Joe Peoples, who rents a pub from Eileen in the small village of St Johnston in Donegal, said that everyone is still thinking of her plight.

The McCanns regularly visited the area with their cousins and spent the Easter before Madeleine's disappearance there.

"Kate and Gerry are hoping this might be their last Christmas without her and of course we are too," Mr Peoples said.

- Kevin Doyle

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