A sea of blue-clad people piled into Casuarina Street Primary School this morning to pay tribute to a teen remembered by her father as a “happy, go lucky girl”.
Mourners traveled from around the country to pay respects to Amy “Dolly” Everett, the 14-year-old girl who took her own life last week.
About 400 people braved sweltering Katherine heat to attend the memorial service.
Family and friends released balloons while the song “I wish I was a punkrocker” played softly in the background.
Dolly Everett attended the Casuarina school in 2014 for Year 6 before moving to Warwick, in southern Queensland to attend high school.
Dolly was believed to have lived with extended family in Katherine during her time at the school, where she sang in the school choir and was a member of the student representative council.
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Friends and family were invited to place mementos in a box at the front of the hall to celebrate Dolly’s life.
Former Katherine school friends of Dolly described her as “intelligent, beautiful and a great friend”.
The death of the teen has attracted national and international media attention during the past week, with journalists flying in from around the nation to cover the memorial service today.
Following the service, Dolly’s family spoke to media wanting to send a message to parents everywhere.
“To all the parents, please check your children, talk to them about their relationships and bullying,” father Tick Everett read to cameras from a prepared statement.
“Please just talk to your children and remember speak even if your voice shakes. Stop bullying, be kind and do it for Dolly.
“We do not want another family to go through what we are going through and our vision is to establish a trust called Dolly’s Dream.
“With this trust we hope to raise awareness surrounding bullying, anxiety, depression and obviously youth suicide. It won’t bring our Dolly back but it may just prevent the loss of another young life.
“It should not have taken the loss of a young life to drive this change but this is where our journey will start.”
Mr Everett said Dolly was the kind of girl who “knew what she wanted and was not afraid to go and get it”.
“As a family we will remember Dolly as a kind, gentle and loving little girl, who loved her animals and cared so deeply for other people less fortunate than her,” he said.
“She was loved by so many and made friends with everyone she came across. Dolly saw the good in this world and the good in everyone she met.”
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull today paid tribute to Dolly and said his “heart breaks for Dolly and her family”.
“From pain and loss we must renew our commitment to say no to bullying,” Mr Turnbull said.
“Any life lost to bullying, especially someone as young as Dolly, just 14 years old, is one too many.”
If you or anyone you know is suffering, please contact Lifeline on 1311 14. You can also contact the Kids Help Line on 1800 55 1800.
The story Tears for Dolly as family and friends gather in Katherine first appeared on Queensland Country Life.