17/06/2015 07:25 BST | Updated 17/06/2015 12:59 BST

Vital Time Was Lost in the Search for Madeleine

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This weekend, I will be embarking on a 500 mile cycle challenge from Edinburgh to London for the charity Missing People. In my third year as a voluntary ambassador for the charity, this challenge is an opportunity for me to raise funds to support the charity's vital work with missing children and adults, and the families they leave behind.

Eight years since my daughter Madeleine went missing, it is important to me that I play a role in preventing further heartache and despair for others in similar situations.

The cycle challenge also marks a year since the Child Rescue Alert was launched in the UK. It's a simple idea - a mechanism for alerting as many people as possible when a child is thought to have been abducted and in imminent danger - but potentially life-saving. It is designed to provoke a rapid and widespread public response.

The night that our little girl was taken from her bed, we mistakenly presumed that some kind of alert would have gone out immediately to the public, to get as many eyes and ears involved in the search as possible. That didn't happen. No system existed to get the message out into the public domain quickly, and thereby recruit help. Vital time was lost in the search for Madeleine. We will never know the difference this could have made.

The success of the system, however, is reliant on members of the public signing up to receive free alerts when a child goes missing. In the past twelve months, over 123,000 people have done just that - but we need thousands more in order to achieve the reach we need.

So we can give ourselves the best possible chance of bringing home an abducted child quickly and safely, we need to grow our community. I hope that with every push of a pedal the Missing People cycle team makes this week, we will encourage more and more people to join us in solidarity with all of those families waiting at home, in limbo, without news of their loved one.

The journey from Edinburgh to London will be a tough one - hills and miles, and more miles and more hills - and I will be away from my twins for five whole days. But I know the team will keep each other going, and be strengthened by the knowledge that every 'rpm' will be contributing towards what is a lifeline when someone disappears.

The parenting community is an important one, you could make a real difference in the search for our missing children. Even if you are unable to make a donation to the charity, I'd be really grateful if you would take a moment to sign up to receive free Child Rescue Alerts via text message, email or through the app.

You can sign up to the Child Rescue Alert system, which has been made possible by players of the People's Postcode Lottery, at www.childrescuealert.org.uk, and support Kate's cycle challenge here.

This post originally appeared on Mumsnet