Madeleine McCann's sister speaks publicly for first time on anniversary of disappearance
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After Kate and Gerry McCann released a heartbreaking statement on the 16th anniversary of daughter Madeleine’s disappearance, her sister paid tribute to her 'still missed' older sibling.
Madeleine tragically vanished while on holiday in Portugal in May 2007.
Her sister Amelie, now 18, was pictured as she joined her parents to light a candle in memory of Madeleine last night at a gathering in Rothley, Leicestershire.
The Mirror reports that Amelie said at the vigil: "It’s nice that everyone is here together but it’s a sad occasion."
Kate and Gerry, who were present at the village war memorial, did not address the group of 70 locals and supporters but shared warm pleasantries with everyone.
Pictures of three-year-old Maddie were kept where locals and other children including Kate's close friend, Fiona Payne lit candles in the hope of her return.
The Mirror reports that Amelie, alongside her friend Georgina, chanted mantras such as 'never never give up', 'leave no stone unturned', 'don’t forget about me' and 'still missing, still missed' for Maddie.
Rev. Rob Gladstone, vicar of the local parish church addressed supporters with words of encouragement and said: "We are here this evening to show our loving concern for Madeleine and for all young children who have been taken away from their families against their will.
“We are also here to encourage one another to keep up hope and pray for a renewal of strength even after this long time.”
Kate's retired head teacher, Brian Kennedy, shared some comforting words for the couple and Maddie.
He said: "Kate and Gerry are very moved by the size of the group of people who turned up. After all these years people still assemble - some come every time and some are new and we are very grateful.
“16 years without someone and still not knowing where they are is a very long time. Even if it was bad news, in some ways, would give us some closure.
“But with no closure, there is still hope."
With little progress in the case, McCann’s parents still hope that Maddie would be found and have shared the message 'still very much missed' on the official Find Maddie website.
To mark the 16th anniversary of Madeleine’s abduction, Kate and Gerry have left a poem by Clare Poland on the site.
Entitled The Contradiction, the verse talked about being close to someone who is not there, and the McCanns stated that it ‘strongly’ resonated with them.
The couple then thanked their supporters and said that they were still awaiting a ‘breakthrough’ as the lengthy investigation continues.