UPDATE: Up to 1000 mourners are expected at Citicoast Church this morning to farewell eight-year-old Trinity Bates at a funeral service.
The youngster was found dead in the early hours of February 22, after allegedly being abducted following a break and enter.
Police officers found her body in a drain not long after her father reported her missing.
A number of students from Gooburrum State School, which Trinity attended, will be present at the Elliott Heads Road church today.
“It is the parents’ choice whether we take their children or not. We will be sitting in a designated area in our school uniforms,” principal Halli Cantrell said.
Ms Cantrell said the students were doing their best to cope with the loss of a friend.
“We’re trying to prepare them as much as possible. We’ve been talking to those who are going in groups with guidance counsellors, just trying to mentally prepare them,” she said.
As a part of the funeral service, balloons and butterflies will be released from the church grounds.
Superintendent Anne Macdonald urged residents attending the funeral to be mindful of the family’s privacy.
“There will be no parking in the church grounds. People will have to park on the roadway,” she said.
“If there are elderly people, they can hop out near the gate but the car will then have to be parked on the roadway.”
Supt Macdonald said police would be helping people to find appropriate parking.
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