Kate and Gerry McCann today thanked the
public for their support during a prayer
service to mark the seventh anniversary
of their daughter's disappearance.
The couple were joined by about 100
well-wishers, friends and relatives for
the low-key open-air service in the
centre of their hometown.
The half-hour service saw candles being
lit for all children around the world
who have been taken away from their
parents against their will.
Madeleine, then aged three, went missing
on May 3 2007, part-way through a family
holiday in Portgual.
During the service in Rothley,
Leicestershire, Mrs McCann gave a
reading adapted from the words of a
"Here we are again, and more
significantly, here you are again," she
told those present.
"Having your support has a huge
difference, so thank you."
Mr McCann expressed his family's
gratitude that the Metropolitan Police
team investigating Madeleine's
disappearance was now moving on to a
"very active" phase in their
"I would just like to echo what Kate
said and thank you all for coming to
support us over the past seven years,"
Referring to the latest inquiries into
Madeleine's disappearance, Mr McCann
added: "They are chipping away and
obviously there is new evidence so we
are going to continue to hope that we
will get a happy outcome."
Speaking before the service, Mrs
McCann's uncle, Brian Kennedy, said all
four churches in the village had
provided a tremendous support to the
The retired headmaster, who lives in
Rothley, said local people had also been
Asked how he felt on the anniversary of
Madeleine's disappearance, Mr Kennedy,
75, said: "Much the same as I was seven
years ago - hopeful.
"But, as Kate always says, we would just
like to know something. The worst part
is not knowing where Madeleine is."
Speaking earlier this week, Mrs McCann
revealed that she privately returns to
the Portuguese resort where her daughter
disappeared to "walk those streets" and
"look for answers".
She told the BBC that she returns
quietly to Praia da Luz at least once or
twice a year to feel close to her eldest
Mrs McCann's comments to the BBC came as
she backed a revamped alert system
triggered when missing children are
kidnapped or their lives are at risk -
known as Child Rescue Alerts.
She said: "When a child is abducted,
families are devastated and entire
communities are torn apart.
"The agony of not knowing where your
child is is almost impossible to