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Kate McCann begins her 500-mile charity cycle challenge

Kate McCann (left) smiles ahead of her 500-mile cycle challenge. Credit: David Cheskin/PA Wire

The mother of Madeleine McCann has set off an a 500-mile (805-km) charity bike ride to raise funds to support families with a loved one who is missing.

Kate McCann set off from Edinburgh this morning with around 20 other cyclists for the five-day challenge in aid of the UK charity Missing People.

They will cycle through Newcastle, York, Nottingham and Northampton before crossing the finish line in London on Wednesday.

The five-day challenge is in aid of the UK charity Missing People. Credit: David Cheskin/PA Wire

Mrs McCann is an ambassador for Missing People and last year launched Child Rescue Alert, which has seen more than 250,000 people sign up to receive alerts when a child is feared to have been abducted.

Her daughter Madeleine was three when she went missing from the family's holiday apartment in Portugal's Algarve on May 3, 2007.

Madeleine McCann disappeared from her holiday apartment in May 2007. Credit: PA Wire

The night that our little girl was taken from her bed, we mistakenly presumed that an alert would have gone out immediately to the public to get as many eyes and ears involved in the search as possible.

But no such system existed to get a message out into the public domain quickly and recruit help.

Although a simple idea, Child Rescue Alert is a potentially life-saving system, the success of which is reliant on us, as members of the public, to sign up to receive free alerts when a child goes missing.

– Kate McCann

Mrs McCann has set up a JustGiving page to help fund the scheme.

To sign up to receive free Child Rescue Alerts click here.