Community joins guard of honour to farewell our Daniel

David Stuart

THE Sunshine Coast community stood shoulder to shoulder in a guard of honour  as they said farewell to Daniel Morcombe, nine years to the day he went missing.

Bruce and Denise Morcombe openly wept as their sons Dean and Bradley carried the white coffin to the carpark of St Catherine of Siena church near Daniel's school.

A contingent of State Emergency Service volunteers in their orange uniforms, joined an impromptu guard of honour which swelled with members of the public.

Hundreds of students from Siena College, many who had volunteered hours earlier to set up chairs in the rain, formed the first part of the tribute along a church pathway as the crowd outside watched on.

As the coffin moved toward the hearse, the crowd followed to demonstrate their solidarity with the Morcombes.

Civil leaders including former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, former police chief Bob Atkinson and most of the Sunshine Coast council, including local councillor Jenny McKay, lined up to hug Bruce and Denise before they left.

Their lawyer Peter Boyce, who fought for months to have a proper inquest into Daniel's death - and for the release of his remains, wept as he was overcome with the emotion of seeing Daniel finally going home.

About 2000 people turned out for the service which featured angelic singing and the moving Daniel song by Elton John as he was carried to the hearse.

A procession of family followed Daniel's coffin to Woombye Cemetery for a private burial service. There was quiet applause and waves from tearful parents and children as the procession moved forward under police escort.

Daniel by Elton John

Daniel is travelling tonight on a plane

I can see the red tail lights heading for Spain

Oh and I can see Daniel waving goodbye

God it looks like Daniel, must be the clouds in my eyes

They say Spain is pretty though I've never been

Well Daniel says it's the best place that he's ever seen

Oh and he should know, he's been there enough

Lord I miss Daniel, oh I miss him so much

Daniel my brother you are older than me

Do you still feel the pain of the scars that won't heal

Your eyes have died but you see more than I

Daniel you're a star in the face of the sky

Daniel is travelling tonight on a plane

I can see the red tail lights heading for Spain

Oh and I can see Daniel waving goodbye

God it looks like Daniel, must be the clouds in my eyes

Oh God it looks like Daniel, must be the clouds in my eyes

Prayers for the family of Daniel Morcombe

THE Catholic church service opened with a moving rendition by two Siena students of the famous Leonard Cohen song, Hallelujah.

The word of the second verse rang true as rain had earlier fallen, as it often does on the anniversary of Daniel's disappearance.

"In my memories, I know you send familiar rains

"Falling gently on my days, dancing patterns on my pain!''

Unopened Christmas gifts for Daniel from Christmas 2003, Daniel's Year 9 report card, which he never saw as it arrived on the day he vanished, and a photograph of Daniel taken at school were placed on the coffin before Dean and Bruce delivered a heart-felt eulogy.

Bruce and Dean Morcombe pay tribute to their son and brother

DANIEL Morcombe has been remembered as a tough motocross rider who refused to show any pain after a fall - and a twin who loved to share secrets.

Dean Morcombe joined his father Bruce in paying a special tribute to Daniel at a packed funeral service on the Sunshine Coast.

Daniel, a twin to Bradley, was born eight weeks premature on December 19, 1989.

Nine years ago to the day Daniel was taken, the Morcombe family and an array of civic and community leaders honoured the teenager whose story touched a nation.

"After nine years of searching, we are gathered here today,'' Dean said in the eulogy delivered at the St Catherine of Siena church near Daniel's school a short time ago.

Daniel Morcombe's brother Dean speaks at the funeral
Daniel Morcombe's brother Dean speaks at the funeral

"Daniel would be proud of what Mum and Dad have done by keeping the search active and the community for never giving up,'' Dean said.

"Bradley and Daniel shared that special bond as you would imagine.

"He was a gifted student and the two of them of them shared many secrets.

"Living on acreage we had a few ponies and they would ride their favourites - Bullet and Sorrento.

"They were great friends often getting into mischief or blaming each other as the reason why their room was so untidy.

"What are brothers for?

"The three of us shared a passion for motocross bikes but in addition he loved his animals.

"Mittens the cat and Chief our dog are too no longer with us, but Bullet enjoys retirement on our Tasmanian property. 

"Daniel also enjoyed the company of his friends - sharing a movie or going to the shops.

"He enjoyed food with lasagne his favourite.

"It was also recommended you don't stand between him and a birthday cake.

"Daniel was my riding buddy.

"We would encourage each other to go that bit harder, higher and faster.

"He was tough - I recall him taking a fall one afternoon trying to attempt a big jump on his new motocross bike.

Over the handlebars he went, smack into the ground with the bike just missing him. He refused to show the pain.

"That was what made him special.''

Bruce Morcombe's tribute to his son Daniel

"A moment in time that will live with all of us forever occurred nine years ago today.

"Please do not be sad. Appreciate that the evil act which took Daniel happened a long time ago.

"Today is about embracing his return to family and being reflective of what might have been.

"Do we dwell on what we have lost or accept the space we are in and find some positives?

"I'm sure all who knew Daniel; including our family members, his friends, former teachers and classmates at Mountain Creek Primary School and Siena Catholic College, family friends among others all agree the only way forward is to feel blessed to have known him.

"He may no longer with us but Daniel's legacy lives on.

"The Daniel Morcombe Foundation is committed to doing all we can to ensure this never happens again by educating children on ways to keep safe and supporting young victims of crime.

"The national profile and media interest in Daniel's search has allowed Denise and I to meet with many other family members of missing persons, murder victims and survivors of terrible crimes.

"Clearly the Morcombe family are not alone. We have been touched by each of your unique journeys and we will continue to do what we can to help.

"I pay tribute to the Queensland Police Service, SES volunteers, media outlets, government and business leaders, Crime Stoppers, the Queensland Homicide Victims Support Group, his former schools, parishioners and the broad community for never forgetting Daniel.

"I also acknowledge the efforts of West Australian Police and the Queensland Coroner for getting us to where we are today.

"I'm sure we have all discovered strengths we did not know we had.

"Australia is a better place because of this.

"Our children and grandchildren are safer because of Daniel's legacy.

"What is truly ironic about all the recognition, support, help and publicity his search has attracted is that he was such a quiet kid.

"He was not an attention seeker yet because of his sparkling eyes and beaming smile captured in photo after photo he is someone everyone took into their hearts.

"That is what made him special.''

Topics:  daniel morcombe editors picks tribute

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