The close-knit Welsh community blighted by the abduction of April Jones earlier this year is struggling to overcome the undeserved stigma caused by the 5-year-old's disappearance.

Residents in the mid Wales market town of Machynlleth increasingly find its unusual Celtic name familiar for all the wrong reasons.

april jones

The community has struggled with the stigma of the young girl's disappearance

Some have grown so fed up with the notoriety, they pretend they are from nearby Aberystwyth when they travel, to avoid unpleasant reactions.

Known as the ancient capital of Wales, in modern times Machynlleth has been best known for its friendliness and warmth to strangers.

But in the wake of the the young girl's abduction, the pretty market town's name has become synonymous with her disappearance.

April was last seen playing out on her bike on the town's Bryn-y-Gog estate, where she lived, on the evening of 1 October.

She was allowed out late as a special treat after receiving a glowing school report from her teachers.

Her disappearance triggered a wave of community solidarity as a huge volunteer army stepped up to take part in her search.

Months after her disappearance, pink ribbons still festoon shop windows, garden gates, front doors and car dashboards across the town.

april jones

April Jones went missing in early October

The family's appeal to "wear pink for April" was taken up across the UK, but nowhere more so than Machynlleth.

While sympathy and support for parents Coral and Paul Jones remains unshaken, the town is having to learn to live with the stigma of notoriety.

"We went to Blackpool recently and when you say you are from Machynlleth, people react, they have heard of it," said Kay Cochrane, who lives on the Bryn-y-Gog estate.

"We went there to see the illuminations but when people hear where you are from they know it immediately.

"There is a stigma attached. They ask you if you 'know' anything and you have to explain that you don't know more than anyone else. I know people who now say they are from Aberystwyth and not here to avoid the questions."

She said that she was born in Australia and moved back to Machynlleth in January to live with her mother who is from the town.

Since October, relatives she would expect to fly over from Australia have failed to visit, explaining: "It is best to stay away."

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The cruel legacy of April's abduction has also transformed the estate where local children used to play out together so happily.

Cochrane said April was a familiar figure playing outside with children from the estate and her own god-daughter would take part when she was visiting.

Since she was snatched from the estate, the number of children playing outside had dwindled to almost nothing.

"It used to be full of kids but now there is nobody," she added.

Police confirmed earlier in December that they are still looking for the missing 5-year-old.

Mark Bridger, 46, from Machynlleth, has been charged with April's murder. He is also charged with child abduction and perverting the course of justice. He is due to appear at Caernarfon Crown Court on 11 January for a plea hearing.

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  • Search Continues For April Jones After Man Arrested On Suspicion Of Murder

    ABERYSTWYTH, WALES - OCTOBER 08: A police officer tries to prevent a member of the public from getting at a prison van believed to contain Mark Bridger as it leaves Aberystwyth Justice Centre on October 8, 2012 in Aberystwyth, Wales. Five-year-old April Jones was abducted from outside her house last week in Machynlleth, Wales and Bridger was arrested last Tuesday, the day after she went missing and has been charged with her murder, abduction and perverting the course of justice. Police continue their search for the young girl. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

  • Search Continues For April Jones After Man Arrested On Suspicion Of Murder

    ABERYSTWYTH, WALES - OCTOBER 08: A member of the public approaches a prison van believed to contain Mark Bridger, to shout abuse as it leaves Aberystwyth Justice Centre on October 8, 2012 in Aberystwyth, Wales. Five-year-old April Jones was abducted from outside her house last week in Machynlleth, Wales and Bridger was arrested last Tuesday, the day after she went missing and has been charged with her murder, abduction and perverting the course of justice. Police continue their search for the young girl. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

  • April Jones missing

    A man attacks a prison van as it leaves Aberystwyth Magistrates' Court where Mark Bridger, 46, appeared today accused of the abduction and murder of five-year-old April Jones.

  • April Jones missing

    A man attacks a prison van as it leaves Aberystwyth Magistrates' Court where Mark Bridger, 46, appeared today accused of the abduction and murder of five-year-old April Jones.

  • Search Continues For April Jones After Man Arrested On Suspicion Of Murder

    ABERYSTWYTH, WALES - OCTOBER 08: Members of the public and policemen look on as a prison van believed to contain Mark Bridger as it leaves Aberystwyth Justice Centre on October 8, 2012 in Aberystwyth, Wales. Five-year-old April Jones was abducted from outside her house last week in Machynlleth, Wales and Bridger was arrested last Tuesday, the day after she went missing and has been charged with her murder, abduction and perverting the course of justice. Police continue their search for the young girl. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

  • Search Continues For April Jones After Man Arrested On Suspicion Of Murder

    ABERYSTWYTH, WALES - OCTOBER 08: A prison van believed to contain Mark Bridger, who has been charged with the murder of April Jones, leaves Aberystwyth Justice Centre on October 8, 2012 in Aberystwyth, Wales. Five-year-old April Jones was abducted from outside her house last week in Machynlleth, Wales and Bridger was arrested last Tuesday, the day after she went missing and has been charged with her murder, abduction and perverting the course of justice. Police continue their search for the young girl. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

  • Search Continues For April Jones After Man Arrested On Suspicion Of Murder

    ABERYSTWYTH, WALES - OCTOBER 08: Media record outside Aberystwyth police station where Mark Bridger, who has been charged with the murder of April Jones, prepares to leave on October 8, 2012 in Aberystwyth, Wales. Five-year-old April Jones was abducted from outside her house last week in Machynlleth, Wales and Bridger was arrested last Tuesday, the day after she went missing and has been charged with her murder, abduction and perverting the course of justice. Police continue their search for the young girl. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

  • April Jones missing

    A prison van leaves Aberystwyth Magistrates' Court believed to be carrying Mark Bridger, 46, who appeared today accused of the abduction and murder of five-year-old April Jones.

  • April Jones missing

    Members of the public wait for the van to leave outside Aberystwyth Magistrates' Court after Mark Bridger, 46, appeared today accused of the abduction and murder of five-year-old April Jones.

  • April Jones missing

    A prison van leaves Aberystwyth Magistrates' Court believed to be carrying Mark Bridger, 46, who appeared today accused of the abduction and murder of five-year-old April Jones.

  • April Jones missing

    ALL TV OUT. ALL TV RELATED INTERNET SITES OUT. Court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of Mark Bridger as he appears in the dock of Aberystwyth Magistrates' Court accused of the abduction and murder of five-year-old April Jones.

  • April Jones missing

    A prison van leaves Aberystwyth Magistrates' Court believed to be carrying Mark Bridger, 46, who appeared today accused of the abduction and murder of five-year-old April Jones.

  • April Jones missing

    A Sunday church service at St Peter's Church in Machynlleth and prayers for April Jones, held by Reverand Kathleen Rogers and Bishop of Bangor Andrew John.

  • April Jones missing

    A Sunday church service at St Peter's Church in Machynlleth and prayers for April Jones, held by Reverand Kathleen Rogers and Bishop of Bangor Andrew John.

  • April Jones missing

    A Sunday church service at St Peter's Church in Machynlleth and prayers for April Jones, held by Reverand Kathleen Rogers and Bishop of Bangor Andrew John.

  • April Jones missing

    Villagers walk to Sunday church service at St Peter's Church in Machynlleth.

  • April Jones missing

    Villagers walk to Sunday church service at St Peter's Church in Machynlleth.

  • April Jones missing

    A Sunday church service at St Peter's Church in Machynlleth and prayers for April Jones, held by Reverand Kathleen Rogers and Bishop of Bangor Andrew John.

  • April Jones missing

    Forensic officers search the home of Mark Bridger - who has been arrested on suspicion of murder - as the hunt for missing April Jones resumed in Machynlleth, mid Wales.

  • April Jones missing

    Villagers walk to Sunday church service at St Peter's Church in Machynlleth.

  • April Jones missing

    BEST QUALITY AVAILABLE. Undated handout photo issued by Dyfed-Powys Police of April Jones who was abducted while out playing near her home in the Bryn Y Gog estate in Machynlleth, Mid Wales on Monday night. Issue date: Friday October 5, 2012. See PA story POLICE Missing. Photo credit should read: Dyfed-Powys Police/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.

  • April Jones missing

    BEST QUALITY AVAILABLE. Undated handout photo issued by Dyfed-Powys Police of April Jones who was abducted while out playing near her home in the Bryn Y Gog estate in Machynlleth, Mid Wales on Monday night. Issue date: Friday October 5, 2012. See PA story POLICE Missing. Photo credit should read: Dyfed-Powys Police/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.

  • April Jones missing

    BEST QUALITY AVAILABLE. Undated handout photo issued by Dyfed-Powys Police of April Jones who was abducted while out playing near her home in the Bryn Y Gog estate in Machynlleth, Mid Wales on Monday night. Issue date: Friday October 5, 2012. See PA story POLICE Missing. Photo credit should read: Dyfed-Powys Police/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.

  • Police Search For Missing 5 Year Old April Jones

    ABERYSWYTH, WALES - OCTOBER 05: Mark Bridger is led from Aberyswyth police station to appear before magistrates in the town on October 5, 2012 in Aberystwyth, Wales . Five-year-old April Jones was abducted from outside her house on Monday night. Police have arrested the main suspect in the case, Mark Bridger, on suspicion of murder. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

  • Police Search For Missing 5 Year Old April Jones

    ABERYSWYTH, WALES - OCTOBER 05: Mark Bridger is led from Aberyswyth police station to appear before magistrates in the town on October 5, 2012 in Aberystwyth, Wales . Five-year-old April Jones was abducted from outside her house on Monday night. Police have arrested the main suspect in the case, Mark Bridger, on suspicion of murder. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

  • Britain-missing-child-police

    Police search teams enter the River Dyfi near to the home of Mark Bridger near Machynlleth, mid-Wales, on October 5, 2012 as the search for missing five-year-old girl April Jones continues. A man was arrested on suspicion of the murder of a missing five-year-old girl in Wales whose disappearance has gripped Britain. Mark Bridger, 46, was held as officers stepped up their hunt for April Jones, who was last seen on Monday evening in her hometown of Machynlleth in a mountainous area, getting into a car.AFP PHOTO/PAUL ELLIS (Photo credit should read PAUL ELLIS/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Britain-missing-child-police

    Police search teams enter the River Dyfi near to the home of Mark Bridger near Machynlleth, mid-Wales, on October 5, 2012 as the search for missing five-year-old girl April Jones continues. A man was arrested on suspicion of the murder of a missing five-year-old girl in Wales whose disappearance has gripped Britain. Mark Bridger, 46, was held as officers stepped up their hunt for April Jones, who was last seen on Monday evening in her hometown of Machynlleth in a mountainous area, getting into a car.AFP PHOTO/PAUL ELLIS (Photo credit should read PAUL ELLIS/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Police Search For Missing 5 Year Old April Jones

    MACHYNLLETH, WALES - OCTOBER 03: Canoeists search river banks close to where Mark Bridger was arrested on October 3, 2012 near Machynlleth, Wales. April Jones, a five-year-old girl was abducted from outside her house on Monday night. Police have arrested 46-year-old Mark Bridger in connection with her disappearance in the Machynlleth area. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

  • Police Search For Missing 5 Year Old April Jones

    MACHYNLLETH, WALES - OCTOBER 03: Canoeists search river banks close to where Mark Bridger was arrested on October 3, 2012 near Machynlleth, Wales. April Jones, a five-year-old girl was abducted from outside her house on Monday night. Police have arrested 46-year-old Mark Bridger in connection with her disappearance in the Machynlleth area. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

  • Police Search For Missing 5 Year Old April Jones

    MACHYNLLETH, WALES - OCTOBER 03: Police search a garden close to where Mark Bridger was arrested on October 3, 2012 near Machynlleth, Wales. April Jones, a five-year-old girl was abducted from outside her house on Monday night. Police have arrested 46-year-old Mark Bridger in connection with her disappearance in the Machynlleth area. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

  • Police Search For Missing 5 Year Old April Jones

    MACHYNLLETH, WALES - OCTOBER 03: Police search a garden close to where Mark Bridger was arrested on October 3, 2012 near Machynlleth, Wales. April Jones, a five-year-old girl was abducted from outside her house on Monday night. Police have arrested 46-year-old Mark Bridger in connection with her disappearance in the Machynlleth area. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

  • Police Search For Missing 5 Year Old April Jones

    MACHYNLLETH, WALES - OCTOBER 04: Police search Mark Bridger's house in the village of Ceinws as the hunt for missing April Jones continues on October 4, 2012 near Machynlleth, Wales. April Jones, a five-year-old girl was abducted from outside her house on Monday night. Police have arrested 46-year-old Mark Bridger in connection with her disappearance in the Machynlleth area. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

  • Police Search For Missing 5 Year Old April Jones

    MACHYNLLETH, WALES - OCTOBER 04: Police search Mark Bridger's house in the village of Ceinws as the hunt for missing April Jones continues on October 4, 2012 near Machynlleth, Wales. April Jones, a five-year-old girl was abducted from outside her house on Monday night. Police have arrested 46-year-old Mark Bridger in connection with her disappearance in the Machynlleth area. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

  • Police Search For Missing 5 Year Old April Jones

    MACHYNLLETH, WALES - OCTOBER 04: Police search Mark Bridger's house in the village of Ceinws as the hunt for missing April Jones continues on October 4, 2012 near Machynlleth, Wales. April Jones, a five-year-old girl was abducted from outside her house on Monday night. Police have arrested 46-year-old Mark Bridger in connection with her disappearance in the Machynlleth area. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

  • Britain-missing-child-police

    A police officer stands outside the last known address of Mark Bridger, the man arrested in connection with the abduction of April Jones near Machynlleth, mid-Wales, on October 4, 2012. The search for a missing five-year-old girl in a rural area of Wales was stepped up, three days after she went missing. April Jones was last seen getting into a vehicle on Monday near her home in the rural market town of Machynlleth. Rescuers appealed for volunteers with 'good local knowledge' to search 32 villages around the town as it emerged that the missing girl needs regular medication for cerebral palsy. AFP PHOTO/PAUL ELLIS (Photo credit should read PAUL ELLIS/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Britain-missing-child-police

    A police officer stands outside the last known address of Mark Bridger, the man arrested in connection with the abduction of April Jones near Machynlleth, mid-Wales, on October 4, 2012. The search for a missing five-year-old girl in a rural area of Wales was stepped up, three days after she went missing. April Jones was last seen getting into a vehicle on Monday near her home in the rural market town of Machynlleth. Rescuers appealed for volunteers with 'good local knowledge' to search 32 villages around the town as it emerged that the missing girl needs regular medication for cerebral palsy. AFP PHOTO/PAUL ELLIS (Photo credit should read PAUL ELLIS/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Police Search For Missing 5 Year Old April Jones

    MACHYNLLETH, WALES - OCTOBER 04: Police search Mark Bridger's house in the village of Ceinws as the hunt for missing April Jones continues on October 4, 2012 near Machynlleth, Wales. April Jones, a five-year-old girl was abducted from outside her house on Monday night. Police have arrested 46-year-old Mark Bridger in connection with her disappearance in the Machynlleth area. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

  • Police Search For Missing 5 Year Old April Jones

    ABERYSWYTH, WALES - OCTOBER 05: Mark Bridger is taken in a prison van from Aberyswyth police station to appear before magistrates in the town on October 5, 2012 in Aberystwyth, Wales . Five-year-old April Jones was abducted from outside her house on Monday night. Police have arrested the main suspect in the case, Mark Bridger, on suspicion of murder. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

  • April Jones missing

    Search and rescue teams continue their search along the banks of the River Dyfi in Machynlleth, Mid Wales, for missing five-year-old April Jones, who was last seen willingly getting into what is believed to be a Land Rover Discovery on the Bryn-y-Gog estate where she lives at 7pm on Monday.

  • April Jones missing

    Search and rescue teams continue their search on the River Dyfi in Machynlleth, Mid Wales, for missing five-year-old April Jones, who was last seen willingly getting into what is believed to be a Land Rover Discovery on the Bryn-y-Gog estate where she lives at 7pm on Monday.

  • April Jones missing

    Search and rescue teams prepare to continue their search along the banks of the River Dyfi in Machynlleth, Mid Wales, for missing five-year-old April Jones, who was last seen willingly getting into what is believed to be a Land Rover Discovery on the Bryn-y-Gog estate where she lives at 7pm on Monday.

  • April Jones missing

    Search and rescue teams continue their search on the River Dyfi in Machynlleth, Mid Wales, for missing five-year-old April Jones, who was last seen willingly getting into what is believed to be a Land Rover Discovery on the Bryn-y-Gog estate where she lives at 7pm on Monday.

  • April Jones missing

    Search and rescue teams continue their search along the banks of the River Dyfi in Machynlleth, Mid Wales, for missing five-year-old April Jones, who was last seen willingly getting into what is believed to be a Land Rover Discovery on the Bryn-y-Gog estate where she lives at 7pm on Monday.

  • April Jones missing

    Search and rescue teams continue their search on the River Dyfi in Machynlleth, Mid Wales, for missing five-year-old April Jones, who was last seen willingly getting into what is believed to be a Land Rover Discovery on the Bryn-y-Gog estate where she lives at 7pm on Monday.

  • April Jones missing

    Media satellite trucks outside the leisure centre in Machynlleth, Mid Wales, as search and rescue teams continue their search along the banks of the River Dyfi in Machynlleth, for missing five-year-old April Jones, who was last seen willingly getting into what is believed to be a Land Rover Discovery on the Bryn-y-Gog estate where she lives at 7pm on Monday.

  • April Jones missing

    Search and rescue teams continue their search on the River Dyfi in Machynlleth, Mid Wales, for missing five-year-old April Jones, who was last seen willingly getting into what is believed to be a Land Rover Discovery on the Bryn-y-Gog estate where she lives at 7pm on Monday.

  • April Jones missing

    Search and rescue teams continue their search on the River Dyfi in Machynlleth, Mid Wales, for missing five-year-old April Jones, who was last seen willingly getting into what is believed to be a Land Rover Discovery on the Bryn-y-Gog estate where she lives at 7pm on Monday.

  • Police Search For Missing 5 Year Old April Jones

    MACHYNLLETH, WALES - OCTOBER 04: Members of a mountain rescue team search the River Dyfi as the hunt for missing April Jones continues on October 4, 2012 in Machynlleth, Wales. April Jones, a five-year-old girl was abducted from outside her house on Monday night. Police have arrested 46-year-old Mark Bridger in connection with her disappearance in the Machynlleth area. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

  • Police Search For Missing 5 Year Old April Jones

    MACHYNLLETH, WALES - OCTOBER 04: Members of a mountain rescue team search the River Dyfi as the hunt for missing April Jones continues on October 4, 2012 in Machynlleth, Wales. April Jones, a five-year-old girl was abducted from outside her house on Monday night. Police have arrested 46-year-old Mark Bridger in connection with her disappearance in the Machynlleth area. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

  • Police Search For Missing 5 Year Old April Jones

    MACHYNLLETH, WALES - OCTOBER 04: Members of a mountain rescue team search the River Dyfi as the hunt for missing April Jones continues on October 4, 2012 in Machynlleth, Wales. April Jones, a five-year-old girl was abducted from outside her house on Monday night. Police have arrested 46-year-old Mark Bridger in connection with her disappearance in the Machynlleth area. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

  • Police Search For Missing 5 Year Old April Jones

    MACHYNLLETH, WALES - OCTOBER 04: Members of a mountain rescue team search the River Dyfi as the hunt for missing April Jones continues on October 4, 2012 in Machynlleth, Wales. April Jones, a five-year-old girl was abducted from outside her house on Monday night. Police have arrested 46-year-old Mark Bridger in connection with her disappearance in the Machynlleth area. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)