Kate McCann reads out haunting poem on the 11th anniversary of daughter Madeleine's disappearance
Police have been given an extra £154,000 to keep the search going until the end of September for the missing girl
Madeleine McCann's parents, Kate and Gerry, were with friends and well wishers from the community to remember their child on the 11th anniversary of her disappearance. They have described the day she was taken as "such an unhappy day". The parents bravely appeared at the outdoor prayer service in their village of Rothley, Leicestershire. The community welcomed them with open arms for the ceremony.
Kate read from the poem titled 'The Contradiction' which goes something like: "I trace your steps, I map your face. You’re all I know and so unknown. I cannot hold you, yet I do."
Parish vicar Reverend Rob Gladstone led the prayers at the service. Heartfelt messages were also read out by the school friends of the missing child's younger twin siblings, Sean and Amelie, who were both not present.
Gerry McCann is an eminent cardiologist and was in Scotland on a hectic work trip before the prayer service. He thanked the crowd of 70 plus people for coming and offering support.
He said: "It means an awful lot for so many people to come out on such an unhappy day — another anniversary. But it gives us strength and your support for us is tremendous."
He joined the locals who were placing name tags of missing and lost people on a vine tree of hope that was placed in the heart of the village temporarily.
The gathering lasted for 25 minutes and a grim looking Kate gave out Maddie bookmarks which had a prayer written on it which the entire crowd chanted out together. The 50-year-old former GP was dressed in jeans and a purple hooded jacket. She was later spotted hugging some of the supporters.
Rev. Gladstone opened the service by telling the crowd: "It is a very poignant anniversary. We pray for Madeleine and encourage Kate and Gerry in faith, hope, strength, perseverance and courage."
Scores of supporters along with Maddie's family, friends and locals gathered at the war memorial where a lantern burns to this day for the most famous missing child in the world. The parents spoke about their "hope and perseverance" earlier in a post that was put up on the official Find Madeleine Campaign website.
Kate and Gerry still have some hope that their daughter, who will be 14 years old this year, is still alive somewhere. They continue their efforts to find her with help from Scotland Yard who have offered them their support.
The authorities have put in an extra £154,000 to keep the investigation and the search for Maddie going until the end of September this year.
Maddie was only three years old when she disappeared from a holiday apartment that the family was staying in Praia da Luz, Portugal, in May 2007. A horrified Kate walked into the room where Maddie was supposed to be sleeping at around 10 pm that night to find her bed empty.
The toddler was alone with her younger twin siblings while Kate and Gerry were having dinner at a tapas restaurant near the rented apartment with some of their friends.
Brian Kennedy, a retired head teacher and Maddie's great uncle who also lives in the village of Rothley, said: "It would be lovely to have a gathering one day which will be a celebration."