We miss Madeleine every second, says Kate McCann on 10th anniversary
Madeleine McCann was three when she vanished on May 3 2007.
The family of Madeleine McCann have said they “miss her every second” as they reflect on 10 years of “stolen time” without her.
Kate McCann wrote a letter to the people of Praia da Luz on May 3, exactly a decade after she vanished from their holiday apartment in the Algarve village.
Members of the congregation at the Church of Nossa Senhora da Luz wept as the letter from Mrs McCann was read at a special service.
The service, attended by about 40 people including those who helped search for the little girl in 2007, took place at 9pm – about the time that she disappeared.
Mrs McCann wrote: “To our dear friends.
“Ten years without Madeleine. If I’d let that thought even enter my head back in May 2007, I wouldn’t have lasted another day.
“And now, a decade on… it is still inconceivable. How can it be?
“Our little girl who brought us the gift of parenthood. Ten years on. We miss her every second.
“Despite the evil and hurt that has come our way, we have been very fortunate, having witnessed and experienced goodness and kindness in great abundance during this long and difficult period of ‘stolen’ time.
“We are especially grateful to our friends and supporters in Luz for being strong enough and brave enough to keep Madeleine and our family in your prayers and in your hearts.
“Your love and compassion has given us fortitude over the years and sustained our hope in immeasurable amounts.
“There will never be too many times to thank you… and so ‘thank you’ for everything… but above all, for not giving up on Madeleine.
“With our love and our very best wishes, Kate, Gerry, Madeleine, Sean and Amelie – and all our family.”
The letter was read at the 40-minute-long service – spoken in both English and Portuguese – by Susan Hubbard, a close friend of Mrs McCann.
Mrs Hubbard’s husband, Father Haynes Hubbard, was the priest at the church at about the time that Madeleine went missing.
Appeal posters and T-shirts were placed near the altar of the medieval church, along with candles that were lit throughout the service.
A minute’s silence was held for Madeleine and for all missing children at the start of the service, which is held at the church each year.
Mrs Hubbard said Mrs McCann had asked for a message of hope, and she read the scripture Isaiah 40 vs 3-8 and 28-31.
“It is one of Kate’s favourites,” she explained.
Father Hubbard told the congregation: “You might remember the first week after Madeleine was taken.
“We gathered here in this church and we lit this candle. We said that the light that this candle offers will not be put out.
“Then we went home and we remembered Madeleine in our prayers. And here we are. Ten years later. Remembering Madeleine in our prayers.
“Madeleine and all children who are in need of our prayers are held up in hope.
“We hold Madeleine in our hearts and all children who are lost. We pray for them.”