As dawn broke with the expected blue sky and sunshine in Praia da Luz, the mood here is a little flatter than yesterday.
The hunt for Madeleine McCann is now in its 10th day. Yesterday, Madeleine’s fourth birthday was one of considerable hope and positive thought and action.
Local people and visitors tied yellow ribbons to a fence and on to the gate of the McCanns’ apartment. Many also left small tokens of love – small toys, flowers – to wish Madeleine a happy birthday and a speedy return to the arms of her family.
The mood was one of sadness but positivity. One local expatriate resident, obviously distraught by Madeleine’s abduction, spoke of her sadness that something so dreadful could happen here in the small town of Praia da Luz.
Last night (Saturday) the McCanns joined hundreds of other worshippers in the tiny local church for a celebration of mass.
During the service Gerry McCann, Madeleine’s father, spoke of the tidal wave of devastation experienced by the family following Madeleine’s disappearance.
He said “Today we should be celebrating the fourth birthday of our daughter Madeleine. Instead we have had to remember what a normal, beautiful, vivacious, funny, courageous and loving little girl that we are missing today.” The emotion was palpable.
On Madeleine’s birthday we witnessed an outpouring of love and caring for Madeleine and for the whole McCann family.
Several of the motorcycle chapters across the Algarve showed their support with a ride by. Photographs of missing Madeleine were displayed on the front and back of all the motorbikes.
Following the church service, young girls released balloons – smiles broke out on the faces of many as the balloons fell to the ground and had to be thrown in to the air once more. For the first time in many days we witnessed Kate and Gerry McCann smile.
Madeleine’s parents cannot fail to recognise the continued, and indeed ever increasing, support that they are receiving both here in the Algarve and throughout the world.
This morning (Sunday) speculation continues concerning a photo-fit of a suspect seen near to the apartment from which Madeleine was abducted.
Media reports have indicated that investigators are looking for a man in his 30s, with a dark complexion, of medium height, wearing light trousers and a dark jacket. The photofit has not yet been released to the press here in Portugal.
Posters are appearing throughout the area but the greater publicity for Madeleine’s safe return the better. We encourage you to download our poster and place it prominently in your vehicle – and please print one for your friends. To download the poster click on this link
If you cannot print the poster then please drop in to The Resident office in Lagoa and pick up your copy.
The reward being offered has reached an unprecedented level. It has been suggested that these financial incentives may be a little too late in the investigation; financial rewards are generally more successful in the very early stages of an investigation.
But everything possible has to be done to keep Madeleine’s plight high in the thoughts of everyone.
We all continue to hope and pray that Madeleine is being cared for safely, that she is peaceful and not being stressed by her ordeal and that she will soon be home with those who love her most.
Updated 13:06, May 13, 2007
DAY 10 OF THE DISAPPEARANCE OF MADELEINE MCCANN