McCanns mark Madeleine anniversary

Tuesday 06 May 2008 11.52
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Madeleine McCann - One year since disappearance
Madeleine McCann - One year since disappearance
Portugal - Services for missing girl
Portugal - Services for missing girl

The family of Madeleine McCann is marking the anniversary of her disappearance at church services in Portugal and in Leicestershire.

It is a year to the day since Madeleine went missing from a holiday apartment in Praia da Luz, in southern Portugal.

Her parents Kate and Gerry McCann, who are official suspects in Madeleine's disappearance, will mark the day privately.

The little girl vanished from her bed in her family's holiday apartment at around 9.15pm on 3 May last year.

People are being asked to light candles, shine torches or turn on a porch lamp between 9.30pm and 10pm tonight to symbolise the period when she went missing.

Everton, Madeleine's favourite football team, will join the campaign to 'light the way home' for the little girl by switching on the floodlights at its Goodison Park ground at this time.

After completing an exhausting round of interviews with British and foreign media yesterday, the McCanns may attend a service of prayers for Madeleine and other missing children at Rothley's Anglican parish church of St Mary and St John.

Their lawyers have advised them not to return to Portugal because they remain formal suspects in their daughter's disappearance.

Instead, a number of relatives - Mr McCann's brother John, his sister Trish Cameron, her husband Sandy, and Mrs McCann's cousin Michael Wright - will travel to Praia da Luz on their behalf.

They will attend a service in the Algarve village's church of Our Lady of Light at 6.30pm tonight, where a message from Mrs McCann will be read out.

A special mass at Liverpool's Our Lady of the Annunciation church will be led by Father Paul Seddon, who married the McCanns and baptised Madeleine.

Robert Murat, the third suspect in the case, is maintaining a low profile and has left Praia da Luz to avoid any extra publicity.

Like the McCanns, he strenuously protests his innocence.

Madeleine was three when she vanished from the Ocean Club resort in Praia da Luz while her parents dined with friends at a nearby tapas restaurant.