BRUCE and Denise Morcombe say they have cried a 'bucket of tears' for their son Daniel over the years but will always remember him for his beaming smile, fun pranks and generous nature.
"Denise and I cannot believe today is the ninth anniversary of Daniel's abduction,'' they wrote in a tribute for the day of his funeral on the Sunshine Coast.
"Time is a scale that one feels must move faster and slower at different times.
"Nine years have felt like one day when we look back. It is only when we revisit an old photo or file news footage taken in December 2003 that we realise how we have all changed.
"Dean and Bradley are young men these days. People often ask how they are coping believing they are still teenagers.
"And what of Daniel, the boy in the red t-shirt that nobody forgot?
"Over the years we have all cried a bucket of tears. Rarely was this in public. We refused to concede that we were hurting because we had a job to do - Find him!
"We had no concept or plan in place on how to do this other than to never give up.
"Daniel was the quiet kid who spoke few words in older company. This was the opposite with his mates. In their company he would be vocal, encourage laughter with a prank or joke.
"Daniel was very generous with his gifts. He worked hard for his money (picking fruit on a farm) but he received great pleasure in giving.
"He appreciated his family and the love he gave was quite special.
"This was never more evident than his relationship with his mother (Denise) and Nanna (Monique - Denise's mum).
"He always found great pleasure with them."
The couple said they wanted Daniel's tragic loss to be a reminder for everyone to treasure their loved ones.
"We are all guilty of only really appreciating something when it is gone.
"That is human nature. I appeal to everyone to reassess their own priorities. Make every day as special as possible.
"Daniel is no longer with us but his enthusiasm, passion, love, generous nature, beautiful eyes and beaming smile will never be forgotten.''
There will be special coverage of Daniel's funeral service on this site.
You are encouraged to leave your tribute to Daniel below.
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