And together they have forged forward with Survivors of Murder and Manslaughter (Samm) Merseyside, operating a hotline for others who have lost a relative to murder.
Marie said this work has helped her deal with her own grief, but anniversaries, Christmas, and birthdays are still hard and the couple always go away in January ahead of the anniversary of Helen’s disappearance.
Marie said: “That chilling out is to get me prepared for the February, and to deal with it all.”
And because of her involvement with Samm when she returns it is often to a mountain of work in which to immerse herself.
But tomorrow , on the anniversary of her daughter’s disappearance, Marie McCourt is left with only memories to hold on to.
The day of Helen’s disappearance is “still like yesterday” for her.
She said that tomorrow, she will be “thinking of the daughter that should still be with us”. he said: “Possibly with her own family – she would have made a great mum.”
ASKED what she thought her daughter would be like, Marie said: “I’d have to go back and look at pictures of me when I was 42 – because she would be 42 now.
“She’d be a mum, could even be a grandmother
“I feel sad – can’t say angry because no one is entitled to have their children all the time – I feel sad that she is not here with her family who all miss her so much.
“But I just wish I had somewhere to go, somewhere permanent where she could be remembered.”
Her aim is to make sure her daughter is not forgotten, and through her work with others, as well as the continuing search for Helen’s body, she is managing to keep the memory of her daughter in people’s minds.
Fighting back the tears she reiterated the same wish she has expressed over the last two decades, saying “I just wish I could take flowers to her grave”.
Tomorrow an annual service in memory of Helen McCourt is being held at St Mary’s church in Billinge at 6pm.
Hotline for families who have lost a loved one
SURVIVORS of Murder and Manslaughter (Samm) Merseyside operate a hotline for families who have lost a relative to violent crime.
Marie McCourt and husband John Sandwell have thrown themselves into their work with Samm, including working on the hotline and group meetings for families who have experienced loss through murder.
They work with police, training officers dealing with relatives of those killed by violent offenders, as well as the probation service and even going into schools and talking to children about bullying, knife crime and use of BB guns.
But the helpline is a lifeline for those at home trying to deal with their grief at losing someone close to them through murder.
Marie said: “Whoever is on the helpline, it doesn’t matter if it’s two, three or five in the morning they will answer that call.
“Then they will listen as the person pours out their pain, their feelings, what they are going through.”
The hotline number is 0151 207 6767.