Saturday, 3 May 2008

Gerry McCann: planning for the anniversary (*)

Sunday June 3, 2007

There was talk of establishing a special Madeleine Day, to be marked by a global pop concert. Sir Elton John had been playing a DVD of Madeleine at recent concerts and it was thought that a host of big-name stars could join him from around the world.

“One of the ideas is getting all of the people who have publicly supported us to come together,” said Gerry. “I don’t just mean from the UK but from different parts of the world. We want a big event to raise awareness that she is still missing.

“It will be some sort of focus around an anniversary to tell people Madeleine’s still missing. I think it would be later this year, once media attention has dropped, to bring it back up.

It wouldn’t be a one-year anniversary; it would be sooner than that.

“What we’re doing at the minute has its role but doing that down the line in a few months won’t have anything like the same impact. We might have a sporting event, something arts, something music. We’ve had backing from sporting people up to now.

“We have had backing from certain musical celebrities as well. We’ve got some other musical contacts who are happy to offer support. We’re not saying it would necessarily be one big concert, it might be that on a certain day they are playing her DVD.

“What we want is maximum message out there now, about her disappearance, but then events occasionally to remind people if she’s not found.”

It was a measure of how professional the campaign to keep Madeleine in the spotlight had become. There was a short-term strategy, along with a longer-term strategy – and also, perhaps for the first time on the part of the parents, an acceptance that Madeleine might never be found.

Difficult as it must have been to discuss, Gerry acknowledged what was on so many minds. “Of course we believe Madeleine is still alive but you would be incredible if you hadn’t considered the worst scenario, that she’s dead,” he said.

Worldwide support continued at the Epsom Derby where all the jockeys wore yellow ribbons to highlight the fact that Madeleine was still missing. Jockey and father of two Martin Dwyer came up with the initiative and said:

“People all over the globe are watching the Derby and we owe it to this little girl to do what we can to help.”

By now, Find Madeleine had broadened into a campaign to highlight the plight of other missing children as well. To mark the 50 days since Madeleine’s disappearance, plans were made to release 50 balloons in 50 countries, including Germany, France, Australia, Dubai, Canada, America and El Salvador.

“We will probably have 10 centres in the UK, like Glasgow, Liverpool, Leicester, as well as Ireland and Guernsey, where we have friends,” Gerry said.

“We are going to tie it in with other missing kids. We were anxious about going to their countries and asking for help in finding Madeleine. But they have said to us: ‘What you are doing is amazing and it is helping us.’”

(*) This story is no more available online. The tittle is from Gazeta Digital.