THE father of missing Madeleine McCann last night made an emotional return to his home village, and promised neighbours: “There’ll be a massive party when we bring her back safe and sound.”
Cardiologist Gerry McCann, 38, visited an amazing shrine to Maddie and revealed how it was helping him and wife Kate through their ordeal.
Well-wishers have turned the war memorial at Rothley, Leics, into a monument of hope following the kidnap of four-year-old Maddie in Praia da Luz, Portugal, on May 3.
An incredible 14 MILES
of yellow ribbon have been used by the campaign. It is tied round benches, houses, lamp-posts and even cars.
Gerry also read some of the messages of support left amid a mountain of cuddly toys, and chatted to locals who had gathered to see him.
He said: “The support is fantastic and we are planning a big party when we all get back.
“We are kept in touch with what is going on here through the TV — it really does help us. It is incredible and gives us all strength.”
Gerry also spoke to eight-year-old Molly Earp, who handed him prayers and poems that are being printed in the area. Molly’s poem included the line: “Let our hearts long for Madeleine’s return.”
She told Gerry: “I would like you to take these prayers for your family in Portugal.”
Clearly moved, Gerry replied: “Thank you very much — I appreciate what you have done.”
He then bent down and kissed her tenderly on both cheeks.
Molly said later: “He gave me a kiss and I started to cry. I know him from church and I know Madeleine, who is a very nice girl.” After meeting Molly, Gerry paused to add his own bow of yellow ribbon to the thousands covering the memorial area.
Then he left to spend the night with friends, unable to face returning alone to the family’s home less than a mile away without Maddie and the rest of his family.
Kate, 38, remained in Praia da Luz yesterday with the couple’s two-year-old twins Sean and Amelie, and led Portugal in a minute’s silence to pray for Maddie’s return.
Gerry had jetted into the UK early yesterday to discover more about the British effort to find his daughter. He talked to senior Leicestershire police officers, met colleagues at Glenfield Hospital, Leics, and held lengthy talks with lawyers running the trust fund set up to help the search for Maddie.
Last night the fund had topped £184,000 and was increasing at £2,000 an hour, not including cheques still to be cleared by banks.
Gerry was due to fly back to Portugal early this morning.
today asked holidaymakers who visited the Portuguese resort where Maddie went missing to send their photographs to this special website - www.madeleine.ceopupload.com
- in an attempt to identify her abductor.