Madeleine McCann’s 18th birthday marked with poignant messages as campaign says it's ‘never going to give up’

It would have been Madeleine McCann’s 18th birthday on Wednesday 12 May

The young girl disappeared on 3 May 2007, in Portugal (Photo: PA PICTURE DESK)

The campaign group keeping the memory of missing Madeleine McCann alive has vowed it is “never going to give up” its search as it marked her 18th birthday.

The well-known image of Madeleine in a pink sun hat was posted on the Official Find Madeleine Campaign Facebook group with the words “Happy 18th Birthday Madeleine!”

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It was captioned: “We love you and we’re waiting for you and we’re never going to give up.”

The post had received 11,000 “likes” and more than a thousand comments by Wednesday evening.

‘We hang on to hope’

Madeleine was three years old when she went missing on May 3 2007 while on holiday in Portugal.

Last week, her parents Kate and Gerry said every May that passes is a “reminder of years passed, of years together lost, or stolen”.

In a post on the Find Madeleine Facebook page, they said that Covid-19 has made the past year even harder, but thanked the police for continuing their investigation.

“We hang on to the hope, however small, that we will see Madeleine again. As we have said repeatedly, we need to know what has happened to our lovely daughter, no matter what,” the couple said.

“We still receive so many positive words and good wishes despite the years that have gone by. It all helps and for that we are truly grateful – thank you.”

A missing persons inquiry

The Metropolitan Police continue to treat Madeleine’s disappearance as a missing persons inquiry.

But German investigators currently have a prime suspect, a convicted sex offender called Christian Brueckner, who they believe abducted and murdered Madeleine.

Brueckner is set to be charged with the 2004 rape of an Irish tour rep who was working in the area at that time, the Sun reported last week.

Additional reporting by PA.

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