A one-minute silence has been held in Portugal in solidarity with the
family of the missing four-year-old girl Madeleine McCann.
The silence was initiated by an anonymous chain email circulated around the
country at the weekend, and was observed at midday.
Madeleine from Rothley, Leicestershire, was snatched in Portugal 18 days
Madeleine's father, Gerry, has flown back to the UK to meet organisers of the
campaign to find his daughter.
Kate McCann observed the silence privately at the family's holiday apartment in
resort of Praia da Luz.
Senior detectives in Portimao, who are investigating Madeleine's disappearance,
also stopped for one minute.
Mr McCann is expected to spend just over 24 hours away from his wife and
two-year-old twins Sean and Amelie.
He will also deal with personal matters during the family's first time apart
since Madeleine's abduction on 3 May.
Mr McCann is a consultant cardiologist at Leicester's Glenfield Hospital
and his friend and colleague Dr Doug Skehan said he would be involved in
meetings for most of Monday.
"He feels pretty pressurised at the moment. He has got meetings he is committed
to," Dr Skehan said.
"I think he is OK. But he knows there is quite a few important decisions to make
about where to proceed from now."
Mr McCann arrived at East Midlands Airport
in the early hours of Monday morning and will return to Portugal on
In addition to meeting campaign organisers, it is thought his visit will also
help arrange for the family to stay in Portugal for the foreseeable future.
The McCann family are spearheading a campaign to imprint Madeleine's image on
the minds of people across Europe and North Africa
in the hope she will be found.
They remain convinced she is alive and well.
The latest public display of support has come from the Liverpool football team,
who were photographed on Monday with a banner asking for information of
Madeleine's whereabouts, prior to their departure to Athens for their Champions League final match
Madeleine's great-uncle, Brian Kennedy, said "astonishing" public support had
kept the family going through "bleak" times.
Mr Kennedy said Madeleine's relatives were aware of Mr McCann's "brief, private
visit home" which "was mainly regarding legal matters".
He said it was the great public support that was helping the family through the
He told BBC News: "We have very low periods. The press conferences that have
come from Portugal
haven't really told us anything.
"We build our hopes up and then you find them dashed again and that is how it
goes on. It is a roller coaster at present."
Meanwhile, money has been pouring in to the Find Madeleine fighting fund.
The latest total is ?73,505, which includes ?50,000 from Portsmouth Football
Club but not money collected by banks and building societies and cheques yet to
A website set up to find the missing child has received around 100 million hits
and 50,000 messages of support since its launch on Wednesday.
Details of how to donate to Madeleine's Fund - at banks, by post or via the
internet - can be found at