Parents keep promise to lost son Daniel

With grace and dignity, the parents of Sunshine Coast schoolboy Daniel Morcombe have farewelled their son.

His simple white casket, adorned with red roses, has been carried from the church at his old school to the lilting strains of Elton's John song, Daniel.

His parents Bruce and Denise kept their promise to their son on Friday - a dignified funeral service that focused on his legacy, not the evil act that cut short his life.

As the 13-year-old's casket was driven under police escort from the church, hundreds formed a guard of honour for a boy remembered as loving but tough, quiet yet mischievous.

The Morcombes will now say one last goodbye in private at the Woombye cemetery - nine years to the day since Daniel was taken and their lives changed forever.

Thousands of people - most of them who never met Daniel - attended the funeral to honour the former Siena Catholic College student in the grounds where he once played.

The service began with a eulogy typical of the grace Daniel's parents had shown since he was taken from a nearby bus stop, while on a trip to buy his family Christmas presents.

"A moment in time that will live with us all forever occurred nine years ago today," Mr Morcombe told mourners inside the church, and thousands gathered outside.

"I appeal to you all, please do not be sad. Appreciate that the evil act which took Daniel happened a long time ago."

He said his son's legacy was a safer world for children, through the work of the foundation established in his name.

"Today is about embracing his return to family," Mr Morcombe said.

"Do we dwell on what we've lost or accept the space that we are in and try and find some

positives?"

Earlier, Daniel's older brother Dean spoke of a tough little brother, who would have been so proud of his parents.

Dean shared a glimpse of the brotherly bond he had with Daniel, and of Daniel's special bond with his twin, Bradley.

"They were great friends and were often getting into mischief or blaming each other as the reason why the room was untidy. What are brothers for?" Dean said.

He also spoke of a shared love for motorbikes.

"Daniel was my riding buddy. We would encourage each other to go that bit harder and faster. He was tough," he said.

"I remember him taking a fall one afternoon trying to attempt a big jump on his new bike. Over the handlebars he went, smack into the ground with the bike just missing him. He refused to show the pain."

Before the service the Morcombes left Christmas presents on their son's coffin - the ones he never got to open in 2003.

Father Jan Bialasiewicz told the congregation the Morcombe family had endured darkness and despair.

"But being people of faith and hope they were able to carry on and finally to leave the darkness behind and move forward," he said.

Fr Bialasiewicz recalled growing up in Poland when his grandfather always asked a local priest to bless grain before it was planted.

He likened Daniel's burial to the planting wheat, and in that act, was the promise of new life.

"Today we put into the earth the precious grain - Daniel."

Mr Morcombe said his son was not an attention seeker. He was a quiet boy.

And that is how he'll be laid to rest later in the day - quietly and privately, in the presence of his family.

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