Crowds of well-wishers have attended what was meant to be a private memorial service for a deceased teenager, all to support the girl’s great-grandmother.
Amy Everett, known as Dolly to family and friends, took her life this month at the age of just 14 after being bullied online in a prolonged campaign of hate. She had previously won Aussie hearts as a younger child, when she was the face of Akubra hats in a series of advertisements.
Her family went public with her death last week in the hope of preventing other children from suffering the same type of abuse as Dolly, and her funeral, held on Friday in Katherine in the Northern Territory was attended by hundreds of people.
Now, more strangers to the family have come to its side, this time supporting Dolly’s great-grandmother Vieda at a smaller service held in Toowoomba, Queensland. Seven News reported that the service had been organised so that Dolly’s great-grandmother could farewell her, but instead the Our Lady of Lourdes church was packed with people wearing blue, the schoolgirl’s favourite colour, in support of Vieda and the Everett family.
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Vieda herself brought the crowd to tears when she recited a poem she had written in Dolly’s honour, in which she said, “You’ll never be forgotten, that simply I will be. As long as I am living, I’ll carry you with me”, Seven News reported.
Dolly, from a well-known NT grazier family, died on January 3. Her passing prompted comment from Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who said the schoolgirl wouldn’t be forgotten.
“From pain and loss we must renew our commitment to say no to bullying … Every step must be taken to reduce the incidence of bullying, whether offline or on, and eliminate it wherever we can,” Turnbull said in a Facebook post.
The teenager’s school, the prestigious Scots College in Warwick, said that its current focus was on supporting her family and that would hold a commemorative service when students returned to school from the Christmas holiday.
Dolly’s family, meanwhile, has set up a trust called Dolly’s Dream to raise awareness of bullying, depression and youth suicide.
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If you are concerned about bullying, anxiety, depression or another mental health issue, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14, Mensline Australia on 1300 789 978, Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800 or Beyond Blue on 1300 22 46 36.
Do you think this is an issue society needs to tackle as a priority? Has the availability of mobile devices put children at greater danger of bullying? How can parents and grandparents help children deal with bullying?
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