FOR DANIEL: Bruce and Denise Morcombe at the 2016 Walk for Daniel.
FOR DANIEL: Bruce and Denise Morcombe at the 2016 Walk for Daniel. Patrick Woods

Promise for sex offender register as Hinch joins Walk

RECORD numbers are taking part in the Walk for Daniel this year, with 2470 schools across the country involved, 1300 of them in Queensland. 

Denise Morcombe said it was a 30% increase in participation from last year. 

"It's about having fun, wearing red and educating kids to keep them safe," she said.

Senator Derryn Hinch has joined the walk, and promised to continue the push for Daniel's Law. 

"When I gave my maiden speech, they were there in my mind and were because I decided to push hard. I promise you, we will get a National Public register for convicted sex offenders and it will be called Daniel's Law," he said.

Speaking ahead of the walk Bruce Morcombe said the Walk for Daniel was "never about being sad".

"It is about motivation and linking his very real story to the need to educate our kids on how to keep safe," he said.

He said the record numbers involved in the walk this year will help ensure Daniel's legacy continues to make a positive difference in keeping Australian children safe.

Mr Morcombe called for the Daniel Morcombe Child Safety Curriculum compulsory for schools across the country. 

Fairfax MP Ted O'Brien spoke on behalf of the Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, who wrote a letter to the Morcombe family.

"The safety of our children stands at the forefront of Daniel Morcombe's family," he said. 

"The Foundation is fulfilling the family's pledge to ensure other families are spared the heartache they've endured.

"All we can do is be grateful the Morcombes have harnessed their grief. Let us all work to ensure child safety is never taken for granted."

SEA OF RED

THE quiet town of Palmwoods woke to a sea of red shirts as thousands of people gathered for the 12th annual Walk For Daniel.

The event, which officially kicks off the Day for Daniel which remembers Sunshine Coast boy Daniel Morcombe who was abducted and murdered in 2003 as he waited for a bus under the Kiel Mountain Road overpass in Woombye.

Today, thousands would walk the path, Daniel never got to - 4km from the Suncoast Christian College, to his home in Palmwoods.

Parents Denise and Bruce Morcombe will lead the walk which brings school children, families, and celebrities out in force to remember Daniel and raise awareness of child safety.

Today, one guest in particular will steal the show - Winston Daniel George Morcombe, the 14 week old child for Daniel's twin brother Bradley and his wife Anna.

Denise Morcombe with her grandson Winston on his first Walk for Daniel.
Denise Morcombe with her grandson Winston on his first Walk for Daniel. Mark Furler

Bruce said the entire family would walk today and that they would run on adrenaline.

Denise echoed his sentiments and said 12 years ago they held their first Day for Daniel.

"Orginally we just emailed a few schools and it's grown over the years, we now have ambassadors, people in the office and a manager organising the walk," she said.

Their first live cross this morning was at 5:40am and Denise said they would continue with the walk, presentations, safety messages for children and the day would finish with the Daniel Morcombe Cup.

"It's a huge day but we're so enormously proud of the community that stood tall and said, 'let's do something!'," Bruce said.
 

 

 Shania Turnbull, Kane Butcher, Gemma Roake and Angelina Leth from Brightwater State School, with deputy principal Marc Baker.
Shania Turnbull, Kane Butcher, Gemma Roake and Angelina Leth from Brightwater State School, with deputy principal Marc Baker. Meghan kidd

UP BEFORE THE SCHOOL BELL

FOUR students up well and truly before the school bell were Shania Turnbull, Kane Butcher, Gemma Roake and Angelina Leth from Brightwater State School.

Along with their deputy principal Marc Baker they were ready to get walking.

Mr Butcher said they had done the walk each year and had educated their students on Recognise, React and Report.

"We had Denise and Bruce at the school earlier this year and their message really got across," Mr Baker said.
 

Pam and Noah Porter.
Pam and Noah Porter. Meghan kidd

FAMILY TRADITION

PAM Porter and son Noah were awake at 5am to get to the walk from Caloundra.

"We've done the walk for the last four years, she said.

"It's really important and such a great message for kids.

"I'm a kindergarten teacher as well and we've been having conversations all week.

"It's really special being here, you can feel an energy."

 

WALKING THE TALK

School students are out in numbers preparing to start the walk at 7am.

Isabella Morosino from Siena Catholic College said this is the second year she's taken part.

The Year 10 student said it was important to come together as a community.

"We learn about safety in school, and this day is important to discuss child protection and celebrate the life of Daniel," she said.
 



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