Page last updated at 09:38 GMT, Thursday, 28 January 2010

Candles mark Madeleine McCann's 1,000 days missing

Madeleine McCann
Investigations have so far failed to find Madeleine McCann

Candles were lit at a special event in Leicestershire to mark 1,000 days since Madeleine McCann went missing.

Simultaneous events took place in Portugal - where Madeleine disappeared in 2007 - mother Kate's home city of Liverpool, and in the United States.

Plans to release 1,000 lanterns into the sky above the McCanns' home village of Rothley were cancelled due to bad weather.

Parents Kate and Gerry McCann said the events symbolised them never giving up.

Madeleine was three years old when she went missing from her family's holiday apartment in Praia da Luz on 3 May 2007, while her parents dined with friends nearby.

Sometimes it even feels 'wrong' to be coping
Kate and Gerry McCann

A statement from the couple on their website said: "It is a symbolic way for our family, friends and supporters to show that we have not forgotten Madeleine and will never give up on her.

"We remember the first few days after Madeleine was taken, watching the clock and counting every hour.

"Now we've reached 1,000 days.

"It's difficult sometimes to understand how we've been able to keep going and survive without Madeleine, especially since nothing has changed since that terrifying first night. Madeleine is still missing.

"Sometimes it even feels 'wrong' to be coping. And yet if we weren't, there would be no search and no campaign to find Madeleine and that just doesn't bear thinking about."

The service took place at the Rothley Court Hotel and a poem, entitled The Beacon, was written for the event by Simon Armitage.

Supporters of the McCanns packed the candlelit service

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