THE parents of Madeleine McCann have told of their “need for answers” as they remember her on the poignant 15th anniversary of her disappearance tomorrow – which they say is “a very long time”.
Kate and Gerry said tonight: “This year we mark fifteen years since we last saw Madeleine. It feels no harder than any other but no easier either. It’s a very long time.”
The brave couple, who are due to join well wishers in their home village to pray for their daughter, told how they found the phrase needing “closure” a difficult term.
In a heartfelt posting on the eve of the milestone anniversary on the Find Maddie and Official Campaign websites, the McCanns wrote: “Many people talk about the need for ‘closure’. It’s always felt a strange term
“Regardless of outcome, Madeleine will always be our daughter and a truly horrific crime has been committed. These things will remain.
“It is true though that uncertainty creates weakness; knowledge and certainty give strength, and for this reason our need for answers, for the truth, is essential.”
Heart doctor Gerry, 53, and hospital medical worker Kate, 54, from Rothley, Leicestershire, also raised three nations’ police forces for their continued work in trying to crack the painstaking case.
Three-year-old Maddie vanished from a holiday apartment in Praia da Luz in May 2007 while her parents were dining with pals nearby.
They cling onto a glimmer of hope she could still be alive. She would now be aged 18, nearly 19.
In their anniversary posting they said: “As always, we would like to thank all of our supporters for their continued good wishes and support.
“It is a huge comfort to know that regardless of time passed, Madeleine is still in people’s hearts and minds.”
Their post is accompanied by a touching phrase from Winnie the Pooh author AA Milne, with a picture of Pooh bear and Piglet, saying: “But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart, I’ll always be with you.”
Kate and Gerry are expected to join family, friends and supporters for an informal evening service tomorrow – as a German rapist made an official suspect over Madde’s abduction faces being charged.
It will be the first time in four years that Kate and Gerry are together set to attend an annual outdoor prayer gathering in their village for Maddie, who they hope is “still alive.”
A family source said: “Kate and Gerry are expected to go to the service. It will be a time of reflection.”
For the past two years special prayers for Maddie at the village war memorial, where a candle still burns around the clock for her, have not been held because of the coronavirus lockdown restricting gatherings.
In 2019 Kate attended the public event without her husband as he was away working in Italy, but was accompanied by her twins Sean and Amelie – who are now aged 17.
‘GLIMMER OF HOPE’
Maddie’s great uncle, retired head teacher Brian Kennedy, 83, told The Sun: “We decided just a day before the recent news about Madeleine to hold a gathering again on Cross Green.
“We have no more knowledge of the recent situation re the Madeleine suspect than the reports in the Press. Doubtless all will become clearer in time. We intend to have the gathering anyway.”
The McCanns have welcomed news that caged Christian B has been made an “arguido” – an official suspect.
Two years ago, the sex fiend was sensationally named by German officers as the person “responsible” for Maddie’s kidnap and presumed murder.
He was quizzed for the first time last week at Oldenburg jail, where he is serving a sentence for raping an American tourist – but is understood to have used his right to remain silent.
A McCann source added: “All Kate and Gerry want is to know what happened to their daughter, and whether she is alive or dead, and for her abductor to be found and brought to justice.
“With no evidence, so far, that Madeleine has died they hold onto a glimmer of hope she could still be alive and out there waiting to be found.
“The prime suspect being made arguido is welcomed by the family and a step forward. But they can’t be too hopeful because the person has still not been arrested and questioned.”