Everton Kicks Off Madeleine T-Shirt Campaign

2:54pm UK, Tuesday October 20, 2009

Everton FC is leading an international campaign to "re-energise" the search for missing Madeleine McCann.

The Premier League club is highlighting the cause as the team travels to Portugal - the country where the little girl vanished two years ago while on a family holiday in Praia de Luz.

The team faces Benfica on Thursday in a Europa League match and have commissioned 6,000 T-shirts for fans to wear.

Each shirt bears the message: "We're still looking for you".

Some 3,000 shirts show the message in English with the other half are written in Portuguese.

One of the first images released by Madeleine's parents, Kate and Gerry, in the wake of their daughter's disappearance 29 months ago showed the then four-year-old proudly wearing an Everton shirt.

This is just our way of reminding people - not just in the UK and Portugal but across the globe - that this child is still out there somewhere.

Bill Kenwright, Everton chairman

"I will never, ever forget that image of a beautiful, smiling child in an Everton shirt," said Everton chairman Bill Kenwright.

"I believe that I was one of the first people outside the family to see it and it moved me greatly.

"In truth, like everyone else, I have felt nothing but deep sadness and mounting frustration as the search for Maddie has continued.

"However, I continue to be inspired by the dignity and the faith which Kate and Gerry have displayed throughout their dreadful ordeal.

"This is just our way of reminding people - not just in the UK and Portugal but across the globe - that this child is still out there somewhere.

"If we can, perhaps, jog someone's memory or breathe a little fresh life into the hunt for her, then it will have been worth it.

Kate and Gerry McCann speaking to journalists in Portugal

Kate and Gerry McCann in Portugal

"I know our supporters will wear these T-shirts with pride on Thursday night."

Club manager David Moyes added: "My heart went out to Madeleine's family when this awful tragedy occurred - and it still does.

"It is absolutely vital that the hunt for this lovely little girl continues.

"People do sometimes forget that football managers and footballers are also dads - family comes first.

"Everyone connected with Everton Football Club simply wishes to see Madeleine reunited with her family."

Travellers to Lisbon who want to show their support can collect a T-shirt from Goodison Park up until Wednesday, and from Liverpool Airport by showing a match ticket or travel documents.

Source: Sky News
Also from Sky News today: Martin Brunt: Madeleine McCann - who cares?
Related to Brunt's blog: Lies, damned lies

PeterMac's Free e-book: What really happened to Madeleine McCann?

Gonçalo Amaral's 'Maddie: Truth of the Lie

Richard D. Hall: 'When Madeleine Died?'

Richard D. Hall: 'When Madeleine Died?'
Please click on image to view all three Madeleine films

Prime Minister introduces Prime Suspect to Royalty

Prime Minister introduces Prime Suspect to Royalty

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