Daniel with the family cat.
Daniel with the family cat.

Thousands to stand with Morcombes at farewell

THOUSANDS of people are expected to cram into the St Catherine of Siena Catholic Church on Friday morning to pay their final respects to Daniel Morcombe.

Included in the list of invited guests is Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Premier Campbell Newman and other politicians and dignitaries from across the country.

Ms Gillard has already indicated she will not be able to attend because she is heading a COAG meeting of state and territory leaders in Canberra on Friday.

The Morcombe family has opened the service to everyone.

Senior police officers, funeral director Dean Gregson, Siena Catholic School deputy principal Paul Ford and Tracey McAsey from the Daniel Morcombe Foundation met yesterday to discuss logistics for the 11am service.

Inspector Darryl White, who co-ordinated Steve Irwin's funeral in 2006 and young ironman Matthew Barclay's service in April, is heading arrangements.

About 10,000 people attended Steve Irwin's service, and about 2000 attended Matt Barclay's - but no one can estimate the number expected to farewell the teenager who touched the heart of the nation.

The church building and its "verandahs" can cater for up to 800 guests.

However, Siena Catholic College, at which Daniel was a pupil, is planning for a much larger crowd.

A large screen television will be outside the church. Limited shade and seating will be available. People should wear hats and bring sun screen, fold-up chairs and water.

The service and communion is expected to last at least 90 minutes and if the heat continues later in the week, the risk of sun stress will be high.

Parking will be available on the school oval and those want to attend should take the route to the school along Sippy Downs Dr and follow the instructions of SES volunteers on site.

Access to the property will be available only from 9am.

Siena Catholic College will close on Thursday so its students can attend.

Mr Ford said many of the students would form a guard of honour.

Motorbike groups that have been involved in fundraising efforts for the Daniel Morcombe Foundation have said they would attend.

Students from Daniel's 2003 class also will be there. "We've even had a former student telephone from Melbourne to say he will be coming," principal Graeme Hight said.

>> DANIEL'S SERVICE

  • Service starts at St Catherine of Siena Catholic Church at 11am sharp
  • Access to the site will be strictly from 9am
  • Television stations are expected to provide live coverage from the service
  • Those attending must bring hats, sunscreen, fold-up chairs and water
  • SES will direct attendees to available parking on the school oval from Sippy Downs Drive. If it is raining alternative arrangements will be made for parking at the University.
  • No parking is allowed along Sippy Downs Drive.
  • The service is expected to last 90 minutes. Daniel's family will leave the church for a private burial in Woombye.

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