Madeleine McCann: Services held in Praia de Luz and Rothley 10 years on from Maddie's dissappearance

Fiona Simpson
Anniversary vigil: Kate and Gerry McCann attend a church service in Rothley: REUTERS

The family of missing Madeleine McCann has said there is still hope - as vigils were held in Portugal and Leicestershire to mark the 10th anniversary of her disappearance.

Balloons were be released in Portuguese holiday resort Praia de Luz a decade after Maddie, then three, vanished from her family’s apartment at the Ocean Club around 9pm on May 3 2007.

A special service was held in the church of the Algarve village, while villagers gathered in her home town of Rothley, Leicestershire.

Speaking after the service, Madeleine's great aunt Janet Kennedy said the family were "very moved" by the gathering.

She added: "The idea was 'yes, it's 10 years, but we're not going to be ground down by this' because the essential message is we still have hope."

Brian Kennedy, Madeleine's great uncle, said: "I met quite a few press people 10 years ago and I would never have believed at that time we would still be here talking to you, seeing you, having services and so on as long as this.

"But as the poem says 'for as long as it takes'.

"I don't know where the end is or how it will end but nobody else does. There's hope."

Moving image: Candles are placed next to a photo of Madeleine McCann inside the Church of Nossa Senhora da Luz in Praia Da Luz (PA)

Inside the church, photos of Madeleine and other loved ones who have disappeared were displayed with messages attached to yellow ribbons.

Ronay Crompton, 38, has travelled to Praia da Luz from her home in Bradford to release balloons for Maddie to mark the anniversary.

She said: "We want to say 'don't let the sun go down on Madeleine'. We don't want people to forget."

"There is still hope, we can never give up hope. I believe she is still alive."

Mrs Crompton, who has never visited Praia da Luz before, will spend four days in the area before returning home.

Outpouring of love: Tributes to Madeleine McCann outside the Church of Nossa Senhora da Luz in Praia Da Luz, Portugal (PA)

Maddie's parents have vowed to do "whatever it takes for as long as it takes" to find her.

British detectives working on the case revealed recently that they were pursuing a "significant" line of inquiry, with information received on a daily basis.

Missing : A photo of Madeleine as the tenth anniversary of her disappearance approaches (PA)

Earlier, Jenny Murat, who lives 100 yards away from where the McCanns were staying in 2007, revealed she saw a car driving towards their apartment.

Balloon release: Two Britons release ten balloons to mark the anniversary of the disappearance (AP)

Speaking about the sighting for the first time, Mrs Murat told BBC Breakfast it was driving the wrong way down a one-way street.

"It was one of the small cars, like the rental cars - the normal, everyday sort of rental cars," she said.

"I saw the driver, I was beside the driver. Both of us looked at each other. I think he had a very British look about him."

Mrs Murat also described seeing a woman standing outside the family's apartment on the night Maddie went missing.

"I noticed her there and she kind of looked as if she was trying to hide from me. I do remember she was wearing a plum-coloured top," she said.

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