The holiday from hell

Vivid account by Bridget O’Donnell, a mother who happened to be on holiday in Portugal in the same group as the McCann family when their daughter was abducted.

We lay by the members-only pool staring at the sky. Round and round, the helicopters clacked and roared. Their cameras pointed down at us, mocking the walled and gated enclave. Circles rippled out across the pool. It was the morning after Madeleine went.

Six days earlier we had landed at Faro airport. The coach was full of people like us, parents lugging multiple toddler/baby combinations. All of us had risen at dawn, rushed along motorways and hurtled across the sky in search of the modern solution to our exhaustion – the Mark Warner kiddie club. I travelled with my partner Jes, our three-year-old daughter, and our nine-month-old baby son. Praia da Luz was the nearest Mark Warner beach resort and this was the cheapest week of the year – a bargain bucket trip, for a brief lie-down…

It’s a very good piece, which makes no attempt to exploit the experience. And she donated her fee to the Find Madeleine fund.