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Toy heartbreak of Maddie's gran

Original Source:  SUN: WEDNESDAY 19 DECEMBER 2007
By ANTONELLA LAZZERI Published: 19 Dec 2007

DISTRAUGHT Eileen McCann has told of the special gift she has waiting for missing grand-daughter Maddie — a big pink teddy bear.


Eileen, 67, will place the toy on Maddie’s bed — while praying the youngster WILL return home.


But she says she cannot think about celebrating Christmas itself without the smiling four-year-old around.


Eileen, said: “Our big family Christmases were so special. This was my time of year with my family.


“But I won’t celebrate this year. I don’t feel like it.”


Eileen, of Glasgow, and Maddie’s parents Gerry and Kate, are determined to put on a “normal” Christmas for their two-year-old twins Amelie and Sean.


She said: “I pick out clothes and put money in a little envelope for each of them.


“This year I did the same for Maddie. I’d never leave her out. She loves pink. I’m putting a huge pink teddy with a white heart on it — a gift to her from the Scottish government — in her room.


“When I lost my husband John two years ago, I thought that my world had collapsed. But losing Madeleine is ten times worse.” Eileen told Hello! magazine: “As long as they don’t find her body, I’ll never give up hope. When we do finally get her home, she’ll have so much love and hugs from us all.”


Kate’s mum Susan Healy, 61, and husband Brian, 67, from Liverpool, are also dreading Christmas.


A tearful Susan admitted: “I don’t know what we’ll do. It’s the most difficult period since she disappeared.


“Kate is really struggling. She doesn’t want it to be Christmas, but we have to do something for the twins.”



Gerry’s sister Philomena, 43, of Glasgow said: “We don’t talk about Christmas. Last year there was loads of food, laughter and games.

“Maddie loved to play with her cousins Paul, Fiona and Gregor. We organised horse races with Gerry and me as the horses. The children would climb on our backs and we’d race around the living room.


“We’d play other daft games, too. Madeleine loved singing along to a karaoke machine, chasing remote-controlled cars all over the room. It was hilarious. Madeleine is always on my mind.”


Meanwhile the Foreign Office is refusing to allow Kate and Gerry McCann to be quizzed again until after the Christmas holiday.


A formal request from Portuguese officials for the couple and the Tapas Seven to be questioned will not be passed on until the New Year.

A source said: “They want the family to have the most normal Christmas possible.”


The Portuguese request seeks permission for the McCanns, both 39, to be asked a series of questions by British cops with Portuguese police present.


A spokesman for the Foreign Office said: “The Foreign Office remains in contact with the Portuguese Authorities and police and will continue to offer assistance. The Portuguese investigation continues.”


Meanwhile, Portuguese police are sending more forensic material to England to be tested. It is believed to come from the holiday flat in Praia da Luz where the McCanns stayed.


  • POLICE in Portugal are hunting a man who tried to grab a girl of nine in Charneca, 300 miles from Praia da Luz.


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