Memorial to keep the memory of Toyah alive
A BEACHSIDE memorial will provide a special focus for mourners marking the anniversary today of Toyah Cordingley's death.
The 24-year-old's body was discovered a year ago at Wangetti Beach and, to mark the anniversary, a monument has been unveiled in her memory.
Old school friends of Ms Cordingley agreed the former pharmacy worker would have given her blessing to the moving service to unveil the memorial at the weekend.
On Saturday a crowd of more than 120 gathered to hear speeches and singing in an emotional service.
Former Bentley Park College school friend Megan Amour said she hoped the shrine would keep the memory of Ms Cordingley alive.
"I am really happy to see that everyone is not giving up because at the end of the day we need her in everybody's minds," she said.
"Toyah is probably the person that everyone wanted to be, she was the package deal. (She was) one of the most amazing helpful, encouraging and inspiring people, she was one of a kind."
Ms Amour said she was grateful to the team who worked to make the idea of a beachside memorial a reality.
"It all symbolises Toyah and I think she would have absolutely loved everything," she said.
Toyah's family have marked the anniversary by placing a heartfelt tribute in today's Cairns Post.
To Toyah "forever young" it includes the tributes "I miss you Brighteyes. Love you Daddio", "You live in our hearts. We love you. Troy and Mary" and "Our Gorgeous Girl, still with us and loved everyday. Grandma and Donna".
Family spokesman and driving force behind the memorial Wayne 'Prong' Trimble said the monument offered a place for people to grieve.
"You can have a cry here," he said. "It's an area to come to grieve. Whereas before they would come out here and there was nothing here."
Wangetti resident Hayley Smith remembers news of Ms Cordingley's murder and was one of the first on the beach to help police search for clues.
She was at the service with her son Rokky Ryder who had brought homegrown sunflowers to lay at the memorial.
"We have been growing sunflowers for the last 12 months in memory of Toyah and they just so happened to be ready for today," she said.
"We love sunflowers but now they are grown in her memory because it became her flower."