Madeleine: One year on in Praia da Luz – prayers, collages and a bizarre mannequin of missing girl

Last updated at 16:27pm on 3rd May 2008

Banners featuring newspaper cuttings were set up next to the church in Praia da Luz today – along with a bizarre mannequin of Madeleine McCann.

The tribute appeared ahead of a service at which relatives of the young girl marked the first anniversary of her disappearance.

The adult-sized mannequin had a blonde wig and its right eye was painted with the same distinctive mark as Madeleine.

Tribute: A mannequin with sun hat and characteristic eye marking to represent Madeleine

It was dressed in a white and blue tracksuit and wore a sun hat similar to the one worn by the child in some of the most famous pictures of her on holiday in Portugal before her disappearance.

An explanation in Portuguese stated that the mannequin was a representation of Madeleine – although – especially given its adult size – it looked more like her mother Kate.

The poster read: “It is very important to remember that you cannot exist as an adult without having been a child.

“Return Madeleine please.”

The banners were plastered with articles from Portuguese newspapers and magazines that were favourable to the McCanns.

One section also included pictures of the young girl subtitled: “Madeleine photographs from happy days.”

Banners and collages stand outside Praia da Luz’s Nossa Senhora da Luz church

Madeleine McCann : Missing for exactly a year

The banners were signed by a Brazilian woman called Josefa Maria dos Santos.

Ms Maria dos Santos, an artist, travelled from her home in Lisbon to Praia da Luz early this morning.

Asked why she wanted to put up the tribute, she said: “All children are special. All the world is interested in this case.

“Everybody wants her to come back, everybody is hoping.”

She explained that a picture showing an angel with Jesus’s face holding a human heart was intended to represent love and hope.

Several passers-by stopped to read the banners and take pictures of them.

One woman even posed for a photograph next to the mannequin.

An anonymous well-wisher left a bunch of yellow roses on the wall outside apartment 5A in Praia da Luz’s Ocean Club complex, where the McCanns were staying on May 3 last year when Madeleine went missing.

It had a message in Portuguese reading “Wherever you are, you will never be forgotten” and ending in English “Lots of love”.

Poignant: Another tribute to Madeleine, made by a Brazilian visitor to Praia da Luz

A security guard dressed in black stood at the entrance to the Ocean Club’s reception, but there was little activity inside.

The Portuguese TV station SIC had erected a large platform overlooking the tapas restaurant where the McCanns were dining with friends when their daughter disappeared.

But there were far fewer TV crews than at previous landmarks in the search for the missing girl.

Pamela Fenn, the British expatriate who lives in the flat above the McCanns’ apartment, was seen on her balcony several times throughout the day.

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