I know Machynlleth well. Situated a little north of where I live in mid-Wales, it is a beautiful place surrounded by mountains and forest, and filled with treasures of nature. It is the perfect place to be the home for the Centre for Alternative Technology, a renowned educational centre which specialises in all aspects of green living attracting visitors from all over the world. The town itself is charming, a little old-fashioned and homely and the inhabitants of which are courteous and quietly welcoming. It is the sort of place which does not claim to be anything other than itself, and which is content just to be.
It will be shocking and distressing for the people of this lovely place both to know that one of their own, April Jones, five years old, may have been abducted yesterday by a van driver as she played near her home, and also to have to suffer an overwhelming influx of media attention as a result. They will know, as they try to help to find her, that these often intrusive journalists and cameras are part of life today and may assist her discovery, but for this unassuming community and the family and friends of April, the attention will be uncomfortable to many.
Human challenge and tragedy confront towns and villages all the time all over the world, but a missing or hurt child evokes particular concern because of his or her vulnerability and innocence. Macchynlleth, today- a place of such tranquil beauty and environmental focus – has been injected with a dose of cruel human reality which reminds us of the light and of the dark and of the polarisation which is our test.
I pray for April and her safe recovery, as I know you do too.