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Priest comforts Maddy's family

Original Source: THE BOLTON NEWS: WEDNESDAY 30 MAY 2007
8:31am Wednesday 30th May 2007 By Saiqa Chaudhari ?

COMFORT: Father Seddon

A PRIEST from Atherton flew to Portugal to comfort the McCann family as they continue to search for their daughter Madeleine.

Father Paul Seddon baptised four-year-old Madeleine and married parents Kate and Gerry eight years ago while he was based in Liverpool.

He moved to Atherton in September last year but has maintained strong links with the family and was asked by them to fly to the resort of Praia da Luz in which Madeleine disappeared nearly four weeks ago.

He has now returned home although the search for the girl continues.

Yesterday, her parents released the last video clips taken of their daughter before her disappearance, showing her dressed in pink and holding a rucksack, walking on to a flight at East Midlands Airport.

The mobile phone footage also shows her on an airport bus in the Algarve.

Father Seddon has spoken of the "tidal wave of empathy and love" which has flowed towards the family during that anxious time.

He said: "I went as a friend rather than a priest. Kate called me in the early hours of the morning shortly after Madeleine's disappearance. Both she and Gerry were very distressed and I tried to comfort them as best I could."

He added that the world had been inspired by the family's resilient reaction to her abduction.

He was also impressed by the massive number of visitors who have visited a website set up for Madeleine.

He said: "Initially we all felt weak and helpless but when we looked at this couple in the most awful situation imaginable, we asked ourselves the question - if they can be so courageous, why can't we?"

He added: "The emphasis is now on how we can channel negative emotions into positive action to make things better. We are not going to look back now, we're going to look forward.

"Gerry spoke of the tidal wave of destruction Madeleine's disappearance caused. It has now been met by a tidal wave of empathy and love which has been turned into hope and action."

Father Seddon is the Roman Catholic parish priest of St Richard's Church in Atherton.

He said Kate's deep-rooted faith had helped carry the family through the trauma and that Gerry, a consultant cardiologist, has had a possible religious awakening


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