Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 10 July 2014

Rich and famous unite to offer £2.5m reward for information

Footballers, authors, music moguls and millionaires have helped raise a £2.5m reward for anyone who can provide information that leads to the safe return of missing tot Madeleine McCann.

Stars including author JK Rowling, footballer Wayne Rooney and music mogul Simon Cowell have all contributed to the fund.

The Harry Potter writer pledged the largest single amount, although the figure has not been revealed, while X-Factor creator Simon Cowell pledged £50,000.

Manchester United and England footballer Wayne Rooney and his fiancee Coleen McLoughlin, offered £25,000 to the fund.

Among the others pledging money was Virgin boss Sir Richard Branson. He has offered £100,000.

While retailer Sir Philip Green has pledged £250,000.

Everton chairman Bill Kenwright also donated a undisclosed amount.

A picture of little Madeleine wearing an Everton shirt has been released by the club, while some of the players have also made appeals.

Sports stars David Beckham and Manchester United's Portugal winger Cristiano Ronaldo last week made public appeals for information.

Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho also made an appeal on behalf of the team in the Portuguese sports daily Record.

Mr Kenwright told the News of the World, which announced the reward: " If it helps towards the reunion it will be the best cheque I've ever written. "

The group offer is in addition to rewards of £1m already made by Scottish businessman Stephen Winyard and £100,000 from a colleague of Kate McCann.

And The News of the World, which announced the reward and itself pledged £250,000 to the fund, said it was the biggest reward ever offered in a newspaper.

The new reward, which has been endorsed by the Portuguese police, was welcomed by Madeleine's father Gerry McCann.

He said: "We are very happy and pleased with what you are doing.

"Anything that can be done to publicise that Madeleine is missing and help with the search is very welcome."

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