Madeleine McCann's parents have said that "perseverance and hope remain," 11 years after their daughter was kidnapped while on holiday in Portugal. Kate and Gerry paid a heartfelt tribute on the anniversary of Maddie's disappearance, writing on their official website: "It gets harder to know what to say or write as each anniversary of Madeleine's abduction approaches then passes.
"Life is full and busy which helps but Madeleine is still missing and she is still dearly missed. Information continues to come in (incredible as it may seem after so long, although we are grateful for that) and work goes on. Perseverance and hope remain."
Maddie went missing aged three while on holiday in Portugal
Kate and Gerry thanked everyone for their constant support, saying that "after eleven years such warmth and persisting solidarity is truly remarkable, and at the same time a real tonic and boost to our spirit". Their tribute ended with the tear-jerking lines: "We couldn't bear for Madeleine to be forgotten or to become just a 'story'. She is a real person and still our 'little girl' and as we always have, we will endeavour to do whatever it takes to find her. Thank you so much for staying with us on this mission."
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"She is a real person and still our 'little girl,'" Kate and Gerry said
Maddie had been on holiday with her family in Praia da Luz in Portugal when she went missing from their apartment aged just three in May 2007. Portuguese police closed the case 15 months after her disappearance. In 2011, Scotland Yard began a new investigation into her disappearance; it is estimated that £11million has been spent on the search for far. Maddie's parents also hired private investigators to look into the case.
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The Home Office have just granted the Metropolitan Police an extra £154,000 in funding to allow detectives to extend the investigation, known as Operation Grange, for another six months. On Maddie's official disappearance website, the question of why the search continues is answered in four bullet points. "There is absolutely nothing to suggest that Madeleine has been harmed," the statement reads. "Madeleine is still missing and someone needs to be looking for her. She is young and vulnerable and needs our help. We love her dearly and miss her beyond words."