Empty school desk awaits Maddie

BFP Magazine

Madeleine McCann

Empty school desk awaits Maddie

By Judi McLeod

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Somewhere in Thurmaston, Leicestershire, England when little girls with hair held back by barrettes will be flooding kindergartens for first day at school today, little Madeleine McCann won't be among them.

Although Madeleine won't be physically there, she will be in spirit.

Pupils will be saying prayers at the school where Maddie was due to start today. A desk, coat peg and locker have been set aside for her in class Four Plus at Bishop Ellis Catholic primary school, in the hope that she will one day walk into her home classroom.

Headteacher Gail Neill said: "We are deeply saddened that we cannot yet welcome Madeleine." (thisislondon.co.uk, August 30, 2007).

"A place has been prepared here for Madeleine, in exactly the same way as it has been for the other children. It will remain ready and waiting as we continue to pray, along with her parents in the hope of her safe return to her family."

Miss Neill added: "A special prayer will be said on the first day for Madeleine and for all children, who for one reason or another, cannot start school at the correct time."

Madeleine's father Gerry McCann was right when he appealed directly to whom he feels are his daughter's abductors, that it is not too late for them to return his "beautiful little girl."

A man sustained by his Catholic faith, Mr.. McCann packed emotion into his plea to the abductors of his 4-year-old child. They could still save their soul from the torment and guilt of snatching the toddler, he said.

People, he said, sometimes acted in a moment of madness.

Writing on his Internet blog on the Find Madeleine website, Mr. McCann reiterated: "We do not know who has taken Madeleine or why. Sometimes people do things for reasons that even they cannot understand. An act of madness, an accident or sudden impulse can lead to consequences that people may never have imagined or intended.

"Faced with such a situation we believe any human soul will ultimately suffer torment and feelings of guilt and fear.

"If you have done something you regret, if you find yourself in a situation you never intended, it is not too late to do the right thing. Please come forward, return Madeleine, leave her in a place of safety."

Madeleine's parents, who have never flagged in their ardent belief that Madeleine is still alive, want her abductors to get this message: "At the very least, help us by letting us know what has happened to our beautiful little girl."

Facing the mental anguish of knowing that Maddie's school desk awaits her back in Britain, is something that Gerry and Kate McCann must deal with before having to face another emotional hurdle: their return to Britain sometime during the next two weeks.

The return to Rothley, Leicestershire, after almost four heartbreaking months in the Algrave looking for Madeleine will never close the sad chapter where it all began on May 3.

It is bound to be a wrench having to finally leave the place where they spent their last days with their four-year-old daughter.

"The real difficulty we have is leaving Portugal as a family of four when we arrived as a family of five," says Madeleine's father.

Adding to their burden were the smears of the Portuguese newspaper Correio de Manha, which incredibly accused the couple of having "a syringe with tranquilisers" in the apartment where the little girl was last seen. The paper has suggested that the parents, both doctors, could have "drugged" Madeleine to help her sleep, in the process accidentally giving her a fatal overdose.

Even newspapers that did not accuse the couple of causing lethal harm to their own daughter did not always get the story straight.

"Huge amounts had been written with no substance and a lot of it is not true," said Mr. McCann.

Parents the world over, who choose to ignore the mainstream media, are still praying for Madeleine's safe return.

Parents like Vicki Langton in South Africa , with two daughters of her own, will never give up on Maddie.

They understand because they are parents themselves.

And although it will be a sad day when Gerry and Kate say farewell to Portugal, the hope lives on and the prayers of strangers everywhere will continue.

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