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Letting go of Trinity

Bundaberg mourns the loss of Trinity Bates at her funeral yesterday.
Bundaberg mourns the loss of Trinity Bates at her funeral yesterday. Max Fleet/News Maill

TRINITY Leigh Bates’s parents collapsed in each other’s arms as pink balloons and butterflies floated skyward during their little girl’s funeral service.

The symbols of love and farewell were released by the eight-year-old’s mum and dad, Damian Bates and Amanda Clarke, along with other family members and close friends in front of the CitiCoast Church yesterday.

Family and friends gathered to mourn the loss of the little girl found dead in the early hours of February 22, after allegedly being abducted following a break and enter.

The pearl-coloured hearse then carried Trinity’s small coffin through a guard of honour created by more than 600 mourners to a private cremation.

A single butterfly fluttered in front of the vehicle carrying the eight-year-old, affectionately known as “Trini”, as it moved out of the church car park followed by a police vehicle escort.

During the hour-long service extended family, community members and police officers who investigated Trinity’s murder filled the seats and lined the walls of the Elliott Heads Road church. At the family’s request, mourners wore Trinity’s favourite colour, pink, and many donned a small pink butterfly in honour of the little girl.

Three screens set up at the front of the church displayed an image of Trinity’s face painted with a blue butterfly

The eight-year-old’s uncle, Aaron Nattner, gave a moving tribute to his niece.

“I can’t believe how brave you were, for such a little cutie,” he said.

“By holding big snakes and lizards, tearing around on dirt bikes with your dad and on your flash new BMX, you had no fear, Trin.

“You lived and loved life to the fullest ... you were so innocent and that’s the way you’ll always be remembered.

“You were so good, Trin, and I regret not telling you nearly enough how much I loved you.”

The little girl’s aunty, Suzie Cavallaro, and family friends also read poems in Trinity’s memory.

“What I have noticed is one remarkable little girl has managed to bring together a whole community, and bring Australia to its knees,” Ms Cavallaro said.

Trinity’s parents, along with close family members, sat at the front of the church near the pink coffin, adorned with flower petals.

Damian’s employer and close family friend Ken Lammi read a poem from the Order of Service.

“Don’t weep at my grave,” he said.

“For I am not there, I’ve a date with a butterfly to dance in the air.

“I’ll be singing in the sunshine, wild and free, playing tag with the wind, while I am waiting for thee.”

Several images were flashed up on the big screen during the ceremony, including pictures of Trinity in costume, pulling a funny face to the camera, and holding her little sister, Mylee.

About a dozen of the eight-year-old’s school mates were scattered throughout the crowd in their Gooburrum State School uniforms, all carrying a single pink rose.

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