Tragedy to legacy: Morcombes reach child safety milestone
MEMORIES of a young and bright-eyed Daniel Morcombe line the walls of the house where the Sunshine Coast boy's lasting legacy will help protect and support children from harm.
After 15 years of struggle, heartbreak and now education, Bruce and Denise Morcombe officially opened the community-driven house where the fight to protect children from abusers will continue - Daniel House.
Mr Morcombe brimmed with pride at the grand opening today, saying it was an "absolutely enormous" feet to conquer.
"This is the emotional heart of the foundation," he said.
"Daniel's family home is barely two kilometres from here... his final resting place is but a few hundred metres away.
"While the foundation is based on the Coast, our catchment is national and we are committed to continuing our fight to support children who have suffered at the hands of adults."
The Palmwoods facility embraces Daniel's legacy and including three child counselling rooms for different age groups, boardrooms, outdoor play areas, offices and a large backyard.
A recording room for the Daniel Morcombe Foundation to stream child safety messages online is also included.
The project was driven by several local businesses who donated their man-hours, services and skills amounting to more than $500,000 and a generous State Government funding of $900,000.
Minister for Child Safety, Youth and Women and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, Di Farmer said the ruthless support work by the Morcombes has changed lives and was worthy of the large donation.
"They are saving thousands of children from harm... making sure those who come to harm have hope again in their life," Ms Farmer said.
"Bruce and Denise have shown great leadership... there are so many things they've achieved with schools and kids to know they can speak up and there is a safe place to go."
Mr Morcombe said he hoped the facility would become a comforting place for children to start their recovery.
Splashes of red reminded visitors of the importance of the space, with framed donations, art work and sentimental pieces from their 15-year journey placed around the home.
"While the past won't go away, (the house) is something they can share with other children... and that story is important," he said.
"We want these young people to come forward and know that they are courageous and their survival will help other kids."
While the strong couple admitted the possibility of taking a step back, a "new enthusiasm" had come over them since opening the house.
"This year they have lots of new programs, and most of all settling into the new facility," Mr Morcombe said.
"We are anticipating growth here for both staff and kid numbers, and more training... there's lots of work to do."