It was a sea of red on the Sunshine Coast this morning, as members of the community gathered for the annual Walk for Daniel.
Bruce and Denise Morcombe have led the crowd of supporters on their annual pilgrimage from Woombye to Palmwoods, walking the steps their son Daniel was never able to complete, when he was abducted and killed in 2003.
“We try not to make it a sad day, we try to make it a fun day – of course, we’re always remembering Daniel while we’re doing the walk,” Denise says.
The walk forms part of Day for Daniel, the country’s biggest child safety awareness event.
Denise says around 1.5 million Australians are registered to take part this year.
“We’ve got around 6,000 schools and early learning centres that have registered and a lot of businesses are having morning teas and wearing red.
“Bruce and I just love seeing the photos that come in and different things on social media of all the different activities that people are doing.”
She says it’s heartwarming to see everyone wearing their red shirts.
“I was just in the local shops on Saturday morning and there was a young boy, probably only about eight-year-old and he had his Daniel Morcombe Foundation t-shirt on and it was really nice to see.”
Bruce says this year they want adults to be brave and bold when talking to kids about personal safety.
“At the start of the year, we challenged ourselves to be braver and bolder in our approach to child safety
education. I am proud to say we have been,” Bruce says.
“We created resources that used the correct anatomical names of all our body parts, including private body parts.
“We thought it was no longer acceptable for us to tip-toe around what needs to be taught.
“And guess what – Australia showed it was ready and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.”
Denise says parents can also access the free child safety resources on the Morcombe Foundation’s website, to have a lesson at home.
“We have around 30 different videos and we’ll also have another one coming out this week, called Challenges and Choices, where the children can choose a different adventure style and come up with a couple of different answers, and it’s all about Internet safety as well.”