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Last Updated: Saturday, 12 May 2007, 21:28 GMT 22:28 UK
Father's tribute to missing girl
Kate and Gerry McCann after the service
The McCann's went to a church service on Saturday
The father of missing child Madeleine McCann has paid an emotional tribute to her on her fourth birthday.

Gerry McCann told villagers at a special mass in Praia da Luz, Portugal, the effect of her abduction was "like a tidal wave".

Rewards totalling 2.5m have been offered to anyone who can help with information leading to the safe return of Madeleine, from Rothley, Leics.

She disappeared from a holiday complex in the Algarve on 3 May.

Poster campaign

Mr McCann, along with wife Kate, said: "Today we should be celebrating the fourth birthday of our daughter Madeleine.

"Instead we have had to remember what a normal, beautiful, vivacious, funny, courageous and loving little girl that we are missing today.

"I like to think about the effects of Madeleine's abduction from us nine days ago like a tidal wave."

He said: "The devastation affects everyone we meet here in the resort and has affected this community.

Card with Madeleine photo in Glasgow
Madeleine's birthday was marked around the UK

"The tidal wave did not stop here, it has travelled many miles across Europe, across the sea to Glasgow, Liverpool, Leicester, Ireland, America, Canada, New Zealand and continental Europe, where we have many friends and family."

He thanked those who had prayed or shown support to the family, such as sticking up posters or emailing friends and contacts throughout Europe.

"They have taken our strength and they are taking action, these actions are to make Madeleine's disappearance more public in the hope that we will get her back sooner as a result."

JK Rowling
Sir Philip Green
Richard Branson
Bill Kenwright
Eggert Magnusson
John Madejski
Jacqueline Gold
Simon Cowell
Wayne Rooney
Michael Vaughan
Sir Tom Hunter
Sir Stelio Haji-Ioannou
John Hargreaves

Madeleine's fourth birthday has been marked in the UK and in Portugal.

Posters have been distributed and many people have joined an e-mail campaign.

Fifty pink balloons were released at the village of Queniborough, close to Rothley, on Saturday, where Madeleine lived until a year ago.

'Family day'

Yellow ribbons were tied to railings in the family's home village, while others were worn by Celtic and Aberdeen fans at a football match in Glasgow. Posters were handed out to holidaymakers leaving from East Midlands Airport.

Mr Winyard said of his decision to offer a reward that he would be "rejoicing with the rest of the nation" if it helped to secure Madeleine's safe return.

The News of the World has promised 250,000 - matching the contribution of Top Shop owner Sir Philip Green.

Businessman Sir Richard Branson, footballer Wayne Ronney and children's author JK Rowling were among others who contributed.

The girl's aunt, Philomena McCann, said the couple were to have a "family day" to mark Madeleine's birthday, and celebrate her life so far.

Other family members gathered at the Glasgow home of Madeleine's uncle, John McCann, she said.

In the UK, Chancellor Gordon Brown was among those expressing sympathy for the family, saying every parent would be thinking of ways to help them.

Madeleine McCann in a Everton FC shirt

The official ground search for Madeleine in the Algarve has ended, but police say they still have significant leads to follow up. BBC correspondents say detectives have questioned nine people in the past few days.

The focus is shifting from being a local search for Madeleine to an international child abduction inquiry, amid suggestions she may have been taken out of Portugal.

Media reports about leads have focused on CCTV footage from a petrol station on the night of Madeleine's disappearance.

It was thought to feature two men and a woman driving a car with a British number plate.

Police have declined to confirm or deny reports about any possible leads, citing Portuguese law.

The international number for Crime stoppers is +44 1883 731 336. People with information about Madeleine can call anonymously.

Map of Luz Ocean complex

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