KATE McCann spoke yesterday of her hopes of finding daughter Madeleine alive as she prayed for her safe return on the poignant seventh anniversary of her disappearance.
By: Tracey Kandohla
Addressing villagers at a low-key outdoor ceremony, tearful Kate said: “The past seven years have been so difficult and painful.
“We are still battling, still hoping, still searching for Madeleine.”
She managed a smile and raised a laugh from the crowd, however, when she read from an adapted song I’ll Be Seeing You.
Before reciting the verses, she grinned: “I’ll read the lyrics.
“I won’t torture you with my singing.”
The former GP, 46, joined by cardiologist husband Gerry, 45, and nine-year-old twins Sean and Amelie, called on supporters to join them in her favourite song, the Michael Joncas psalm On Eagle’s Wings.
It was sung at the couple’s wedding and one line reads: “You need not fear the terror of the night.”
Kate, casually dressed in blue jeans, orange top and trainers, hugged Gerry as they sang in the sunshine at the gathering in their village of Rothley, Leicestershire.
A shrine was set up at the war memorial to mark the occasion.
The past seven years have been so difficult and painful
Photographs of Madeleine and other missing children were displayed on a billboard. Green and yellow ribbons symbolising hope and solidarity were tied to the railings beside a large candle.
Gerry thanked the 100-strong crowd for turning out, saying: “For us the last seven years have been made a bit easier by the tremendous support.”
He said the family had been buoyed by the Scotland Yard investigation.
“They are going back out to Portugal very soon.
“They are chipping away and there is new evidence.
“We are going to continue hoping we get a happy outcome and one day we will know what’s happening.”
Kate pleaded with residents to support her new child rescue scheme, which she hopes will save lives and act as a deterrent to would-be abductors.
She urged: “Go home and sign up to the alert.
“If a child goes missing in your area you will receive a text.
“It is one of the good things that has come out of the last seven years.”
Kate’s beloved Everton football club marked the sombre anniversary before their Premier League match against Manchester City last night by urging fans to remember Madeleine, who would be nearly 11.
The club flashed an image of the three-year-old wearing an Everton shirt, one of the first photos to be released after she vanished, and a message: “Still missing, still missed, never forgotten.”