Morcombes urge child safety in Whitsundays
RECOGNISE, react, report.
This is what Bruce and Denise Morcombe want Whitsunday children to do, so that tragedies such as their son Daniel’s can be prevented.
It was nine-and-a-half years ago on December 7 that Daniel Morcombe disappeared, just 12 days before his 14th birthday.
Since then, the story of the Sunshine Coast boy, who was abducted and murdered, has touched the entire nation.
Leaving no stone unturned, the Morcombes have fought long and hard over the past decade to uncover the truth about what really happened to their son.
It was only last year that they were finally able to hold a funeral when the coroner released Daniel’s remains.
But a big part of the Morcombe’s battle has been about turning their situation around so that other children and their parents could learn from their misfortune.
Over the past three years the Morcombes have been visiting Queensland schools to deliver important safety messages to the state’s youth.
On Tuesday, they rolled into the Whitsundays in their big red bus at the invitation of Cannonvale State School principal Angie Kelly.
Ms Kelly introduced Bruce and Denise to a school hall packed with children, teachers and parents who listened intently to what they had to say
As Bruce explained before the talk, “A teacher or a doctor could deliver the same messages but when we deliver them you can feel the attention of the kids – we bring something to the table that’s a little unique”. The Morcombes’ presentation covered recognising when a situation might be unsafe, reacting to it and the importance of reporting what has happened. .
Bruce Morcombe spoke about creating a safety list of five people a child could go to, who would listen and want to help them. He also spoke about the dangers of the internet and Denise asked the children to go home and delete all the “friends” from their Facebook accounts that they didn’t really know.
“Remember, most people out in the community are good and would never hurt us, so do not think every car driver in the street is an abductor,” she said.
“Having said that, it is important to always be observant and trust your instincts. If you think it is wrong, it probably is.”
Ms Kelly said she invited the Morcombes to the school because she be- lieved the goal posts had shifted in terms of child safety.
“The world is just changing at such a rapid pace and you really have to constantly re-invent what the messages are in order to keep safe,” she said.
“For the most part people are good, but on rare occasions, danger will find us and it’s best to have our children prepared for that.”
STOP: Senior Constable Geoffrey Price and Cannonvale State School's ‘adopt-a-cop’ Constable Danni Ashley (far left and right), Cannonvale State School principal Angie Kelly (centre back), Bruce and Denise Morcombe and Cannonvale school captains Lauren Flynn and Matthew Tantiangco.