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