by Rod Chaytor
Kate and Gerry McCann last night made an emotional appeal to their daughter Madeleine to mark the third anniversary of her disappearance.
Her father, now 41, reassured the little girl: "Madeleine, we're still looking for you. Tell someone who your mummy and daddy are, who you are."
His wife said they would not stop searching for their child, who was nearly four when she went missing from the family's holiday apartment in Praia da Luz, Portugal, in 2007 while her parents dined with friends nearby.
Kate, 42, said: "We love you very much, Madeleine, and we're not going to stop what we're doing."
The couple, from Rothley, Leicestershire, will mark Monday's anniversary in private but revealed they now feel less guilty about enjoying themselves in her absence.
Kate said: "I'm able to look at it now and think it's positive we're functioning. It's positive for Madeleine and for Sean and Amelie (her five-year-old twin siblings) and unless you're in this situation you have no idea how you cope."
Gerry said that laughter and happiness were essential for living a normal life.
"The guilt, where you feel 'Madeleine is missing so how can you enjoy yourself?' is much, much, much less than it was," he revealed. "If you're going to have some sort of normality, you've got to have some laughter and some joy."
He also said that there were new leads to follow. He added: "Our private investigators have identified new information that needs investigating and other areas where we think there could be further meaningful information.
"But we have to be realistic. We do not have the same ability to follow up lines of inquiry that the police do."
However, the authorities, he complained, had hardly been providing a "Rolls-Royce service".
He said: "The key test is, 'Has everything that could reasonably have been done, been done?' And the answer to that is no. There's no law enforcement that's been pro-actively doing anything for 18 months."
in: Daily Mirror, 01.05.2010