Both have endured unimaginable heartache as the fate of their daughters
remains a mystery.
And for the first time yesterday, Kate McCann, mother of Madeleine, and
the father of Claudia Lawrence met at a vigil for the missing chef.
On what would have been Miss Lawrence's 37th birthday, her father Peter
sat with Mrs McCann as 50 friends and family gathered at York Minster,
along with Archbishop John Sentamu, to pray for the safe return of their
Remembrance: Kate McCann lights a candle at York Minster for
her missing daughter Madeleine
Dressed in a black skirt and coat and red scarf, 42-year-old Mrs McCann
lit a candle for Madeleine, who vanished aged three in 2007, and spoke
of drawing support from meeting someone who knows the pain her family
'It is nice to spend time with people who are in the same position,' she
said. 'The circumstances are very different, but we share the same pain
and fear and hope.
'Our daughters are different ages and the circumstances are very
different but we share the same pain and fear and hope
'Today is actually the first time I have met Peter, I have been in touch
with his wife. It is nice to be able to support each other because it is
one of those things that, unless you have been in that situation it is
very difficult to understand.
'The Archbishop John Sentamu has also been very supportive. He has never
Miss Lawrence has been missing since March 2009.
Her 64-year-old father said: 'Today is difficult, just like Christmas,
but we have to make the fact that Claudia is missing apparent.'
Missing: The parents of Madeleine McCann
(left) and Claudia Lawrence (right) said prayers for their
absent loved ones at York Cathedral today
Mr Lawrence, 64, and Mrs McCann, 42, met in the centre of York this
afternoon before slowly making their way to the grandiose York Minster.
Sadly neither Joan Lawrence or Gerry McCann could make the vigil.
They marched along with family and friends, holding a loft a placard
with Claudia's picture on and the question 'Where are you''
Prior to the vigil, Mr Lawrence said: 'Everything we have done for the
past couple of years has been aimed at keeping the fact that Claudia is
missing at the front of people's minds. Everything we can do we are
'Today is obviously a special day because it is Claudia's birthday. It
is not just for Claudia, we have organised it for other missing people
too. Today is difficult, just like Christmas was but on every occasion
we have to make the fact that Claudia is missing apparent.
'Kate got in touch when she heard that we were having this event and she
said that she wanted to come along. It is nice to raise awareness for
both of our daughters and for the families to come together
Vigil: Peter Lawrence, father of missing chef
Claudia Lawrence, and Madeleine McCann's mother Kate met
with Dr John Sentamu for a service at York Minster
Mr Lawrence also confirmed that he intends to address a number of MPs at
parliament later this week in relation to the control families have over
missing people's financial affairs.
Claudia Lawrence's best friend, Suzy Cooper, also attended the vigil and
prior to it said: 'It has been really difficult with today being her
birthday and Claudia particularly enjoyed going out on Sundays so she
would have been really pleased her birthday was on one today.
Vigil: Kate McCann prayed for missing York
chef Claudia Lawrence
We haven't made any specific plans for her birthday but I think we will
have a drink, a meal and a toast to Claudia.'
The group then made their way to York Minster where they were met by
Archbishop of York Sentamu and Dean of York Keith Jones.
After the group had made their way inside the stunning building,
Archbishop Sentamu addressed the congregation of 50 people, saying: 'We
are having a vigil on the 37th birthday of Claudia Lawrence.
'We must keep ourselves remembering that she is still missing. Someone
out there knows where she is and in my prayers I hope they will have the
courage to come forward.
'It is great that we also have Kate McCann here, Maddie McCann's mother.
As you know in this minster, I pray for both her and for Claudia
Mrs McCann and Mr Lawrence were then presented with a blue candle each,
as a symbol of the Virgin Mary and the joy and pain of motherhood,
before a number of prayers were said for Maddie, Ms Lawrence and other
The parents of Ms Lawrence and Maddie then sat side by side, along with
Archbishop Sentamu, with the Minster's great window in the background,
and quietly said prayers for their missing daughters.