STAYING SAFE: St Patrick’s Allora students heed the message during Bruce and Denise Morcombe’s visit to the school.
STAYING SAFE: St Patrick’s Allora students heed the message during Bruce and Denise Morcombe’s visit to the school. Michael Cormack

Allora students go red for Daniel

THE loss of Daniel Morcombe was one loss too many - but Bruce and Denise Morcombe hope it will be the last time a child is taken from the streets.

Following on from their book-signing session at Leslie Park on Tuesday, Mr and Mrs Morcombe visited St Patrick's School Allora yesterday to spread the message of child safety and offer tips to the students.

"It can happen to anyone," Mr Morcombe said of Daniel's murder in December 2003.

"Daniel is just the illustration of that."

Mr Morcombe said children should discuss a safety plan with their parents so they know what to do in an uncomfortable situation.

"Our mantra is 'recognise, react and report'," he said.

"Recognising danger is about being aware and recognising signs such as goosebumps or having a bad gut feeling.

"Then children need to react, which is generally to run, and then report it to an adult they can trust."

Mr Morcombe said it was important for children to have a list of adults they could trust.

"They should have at least five adults they can turn to," Mr Morcombe said.

"It's always a good idea to have some that are outside the family and typically that would be a teacher at school."

St Patrick's School Allora principal Margaret Grew said it was invaluable for the school to have Mr and Mrs Morcombe visit.

"We've been participating in the Day for Daniel for at least four or five years," Mrs Grew said.

"Today was an important part of reminding children about protective behaviours.

"It's good for them to hear the message from Bruce and Denise themselves because the kids can relate to them.

"Bruce and Denise have that relationship with kids - unfortunately they know better than most that things can go wrong when you're not expecting it."

St Patrick’s Allora Year 7 girls practise their response to strangers.
St Patrick’s Allora Year 7 girls practise their response to strangers.

Mrs Grew said the visit was good timing with school holidays and Christmas approaching.

"There's a big break at Christmas coming up and a lot of kids may go on holidays and be out of their comfort zone," she said.

"Next year will also be the first year the Year 7 students will be a part of high school so some of them will be catching a bus to Warwick or Clifton to go school.

"They'll be overwhelmed with being in a new school and being the youngest students at the school so it's important to remember the safety tips they've been given here today."

Mr Morcombe said it was a good idea to have a family password.

"This comes back to having a safety plan, but it's a good idea to have a family password," he said.

"That way if someone says they've been asked to pick a child up the child can ask for the password and know if the person is legitimate or not."

Mr Morcombe said he and Mrs Morcombe were overwhelmed by the support Warwick and Allora had shown them.

"It's extraordinary, the number of locals we've had interested in our book (titled Where is Daniel?)," he said.

"We were only doing it as a courtesy but we would have signed over 30 books.

"Warwick and Allora have definitely been two of the most interested country towns we've been to."

St Patrick’s Allora parents Sian Edge, Gretta Bartton and Jan-Maree Murphy thank Bruce and Denise Morcombe.
St Patrick’s Allora parents Sian Edge, Gretta Bartton and Jan-Maree Murphy thank Bruce and Denise Morcombe.


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