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Remembering Madeleine McCann

Original Source: THE WHIG 14 APRIL 2013
By Danielle VandenBrink, Kingston Whig-Standard
Sunday, April 14, 2013 11:12:34 EDT PM


Susan and Haynes Hubbard hold a picture of Madeleine McCann, who made international headlines when she went missing from a small village in Portugal in 2007. Danielle VandenBrink/The Whig-Standard 



GLENBURNIE - In the face of tragedy, Susan Hubbard hopes that, one day, she will hold a celebration.


Instead, the Glenburnie resident will travel to Portugal next month to hold a vigil for Madeleine McCann, who was the focus of international headlines after she was abducted in Praia da Luz, Portugal, on May 3, 2007.


Hubbard, together with her husband, Haynes, and three children, arrived in the small coastal village on May 6 amid chaos in search of the three-year-old child. Haynes, an Anglican priest, had taken a position in a local church.


Hubbard said her concern for the McCann family, who were vacationing in the area when Madeleine was taken from her room while she slept, was immediate.


“When you have a tragedy like that, the whole community is reeling,” she said. “People have no idea when a tragedy happens how far it ripples.”


The Hubbards soon became acquainted to the Gerry and Kate McCann, parents of the missing girl, through church services. The two families are now considered close friends.


“The only thing we could do is be there and pray in hope that she is alive,” said Haynes Hubbard. “Even in the middle of confusion, it needed to be said that this little girl needed to be prayed for and not be forgotten until she comes home.”


The McCann family, who were from England, were bombarded by media attention and, eventually, allegations from some in Portugal that they had been responsible for abducting their own daughter.


When the McCanns would return to Portugal, they would stay with the Hubbards in Praia da Luz.


“(The family) needed a place where they could hide and allow their children to be children,” Susan Hubbard said.


Since, Hubbard said she and her husband have witnessed the immense struggle endured Madeleine’s parents — largely through court battles against defamation and the fight to keep the case open with Portuguese authorities.


“There’s been a lot of injustices along the way,” Hubbard said.


When the Hubbards decided to leave Portugal last year, she said it was made difficult by the fact that Madeleine had not yet been found.


Since her disappearance, Hubbard has held a service in remembrance of Madeleine in Praia da Luz.


However, she said there has been opposition from some in the community who no longer wish to publicly recognize the disappearance.


“The people that rely on (tourism) need people to move on,” she said. “There were a lot of people that want this to go away.”


Hubbard will return to Portugal next month to hold a vigil on the anniversary of the girl's disappearance.


“Until somebody can show she is not alive we will keep looking,” Haynes Hubbard said.


His wife agreed. She said it is Madeleine’s mother, Kate, who continues to hold out hope for her daughter’s return. 

“I always say (to Kate) that one of these years we’re going to have a celebration,” she said.


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