Kate McCann has revealed that she still buys Christmas presents for her daughter Madeleine – ten years after the little girl vanished.

The former GP, who has never given up hope that her daughter could still be alive, said the festive period can still be a 'hugely painful' time for the family, according to the Daily Mail.

Madeleine was three when she went missing from their rented family holiday apartment in Praia da Luz in Portugal in 2007.

Her parents remain hopeful that the youngster, who would now be 14, will one day come home.

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Mrs McCann still remembers the last Christmas she spent with her daughter, and recalls the moment when she unwrapped the toy kitchen her parents had bought her as a surprise.

'I remember seeing her face when she walked in – she was beside herself,' Mrs McCann said.

'She got straight to work and was preparing us all a meal.

'That was a lovely moment - I have bought a Christmas present for Madeleine every year since then but that toy cooker was the last one I ever saw her open.'

Mrs McCann said she 'couldn't do anything ... buy presents or cards or even put up the tree' the first Christmas after Madeleine disappeared.

Maddie last opened a Christmas present at home with her mother and father in 2006. Photo / the daily mail
Maddie last opened a Christmas present at home with her mother and father in 2006. Photo / the daily mail

Despite their heartache, both she and her husband Gerry 'have to make the best of it' for the sake of their twins, who are now 12.

'That absence is tangible for all our family, the emotion still palpable,' she told the Telegraph.

'It's impossible to shake off the heaviness ever-present on your chest. Everything is tinged with pain.'

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One thing that she loves, she says, is spending 'quality time' with her other children, and the family enjoy 'cuddling up on the couch under a throw and watching a DVD together'.

She explained that the presents she buys Madeleine have to be 'suitable and enjoyable' for her – no matter what age she may be if she gets to open them.

Madeleine's room, which has been virtually untouched since her disappearance, has become a shrine to her full of photos, drawings and Christmas and birthday presents.

Her mother says the irony is 'she wouldn't want it like that any more because it's bright pink', but she cannot bring herself to change it.

The police investigation into Madeleine's disappearance is still active, and despite being the subject of one of the biggest missing person investigations of all time, no trace of her has ever been found.

'While it can be incredibly slow and frustrating, we continue in hope,' Mrs McCann added.

'That is all we can do.'

Mr and Mrs McCann still remember the last Christmas she spent with Maddie, and recalls the moment when she unwrapped the toy kitchen her parents had bought her as a surprise. Photo / the daily mail
Mr and Mrs McCann still remember the last Christmas she spent with Maddie, and recalls the moment when she unwrapped the toy kitchen her parents had bought her as a surprise. Photo / the daily mail

In September detectives were handed an extra £154,000 to continue the decade-long search.

The figure brings the total spending in 2017-18 on Operation Grange to £309,000 and the overall cost to around £11.5million.

Senior detectives have said they expect the investigation to continue until at least March, explaining that the final element of their probe proved much more 'complex' than had first been expected.

The size of the extra cash award raised hopes that the force was closing in on identifying whoever abducted the three-year-old but also raised questions about what the money would be spent on, as only four officers remain on the case.

According to the latest records, they have travelled to Portugal only twice this year, in March and May, at a cost of £1,250. The figures are small compared to the £16,000 spent on 67 flights during 2014 at the peak of the investigation.

Madeleine's parents insist the inquiry must continue as there is 'absolutely nothing' to suggest she has been harmed.

Not one piece of forensic evidence linked to her has been found since she vanished. And despite thousands of tip-offs and potential sightings, police have not confirmed that a single one was her.