Child safety quest
"THIS is not a club you want to join," Bruce Morecombe told Gympie supporters yesterday.
Fortunately most of us do not qualify for membership and Bruce and Denise Morecombe want to keep it that way.
Their continuing efforts for child safety are aimed at saving the rest of us from having to cope with the loss of a murdered child.
In return, they say, the support of millions around Australia has helped them cope with their own grief.
The Morecombes lost their son Daniel, 13, when he was taken from a bus stop on the Sunshine Coast in December 2003.
The Morecombes say they no longer identify with the normal life they were leading until then.
Their quest to find their son ended with the discovery of his remains last year.
Their other quest goes on, however, as they work constantly to educate children about stranger danger (through the Daniel Morecombe Foundation).
That quest brought them to Gympie police headquarters yesterday.
They were welcomed by Gympie District Spt Chris Sang and Crime Prevention Co-ordinator, Snr Cnst Llew O'Brien.
With them were Gympie Blue Light Disco organisers, secretary Elisha Randall, committee member Kelli Forest and treasurer Joy-Anna Meers.
They handed over $1200 raised for the Morecombe Foundation by the Blue Light organisation.
"It won't be wasted," Denise Morecombe said.
Bruce added: "We hope the children of Gympie will be safer because of this.
"We'll make sure it's spent locally," he said.
On child safety, Snr Cnst O'Brien said: "There is no more important contribution than what you do."
The Morecombes recalled the early days of their campaign to raise awareness, save children and bring their son's killer to justice.
The foundation did not come into being easily, they said. "Like a lot of charities, for six years we struggled to pay the bills," Bruce said.
August 13 is "the arrest day" for Denise Morecombe.
And that was when things began to turn around.
Support has been coming in and information and DVDs going out so fast that they had to make alternative mail delivery arrangements.
"We were filling the Palmwoods Post Office," they said.
"We've produced 30,000 copies of the DVD (a child safety education video) - all free."
"We've been able to help a lot of child victims of crime as well and we aim to help educate children on being safe."
They now have a busy schedule of school appearances all over Queensland and interstate.