THE suicide of teenage country girl and former face of Akubra hats, Amy Everett, has struck a chord with strangers far and wide.
A crowd of about 40 people made up of friends and supportive strangers wearing blue gathered at Evans Head main beach yesterday to commemorate the life of 14-year-old Northern Territory girl Amy, affectionately known as Dolly, who died by suicide on January 3 following months of bullying.
The Ryan family from Dalby, who were close with Dolly and her sister through camp drafts, decided to hold their own memorial while on holidays in Evans Head after being unable to attend her funeral.
Rebecca Ryan said: "Logistically it was too hard to get there for the funeral being down here so we thought we would do something down here."
Heart warmingly, the response was huge.
"It just started off as our family but then a few people heard about it and wanted to join us and everyone's out in blue. It's very nice to see," Ms Ryan said.
Rebecca's son, Cody, who was friend of Dolly's, said he will miss the "proper down to earth girl".
He described her as an intelligent girl, great with her horses and nice to everybody.
"It's tragic that no one knew something was wrong," he said.
"Bullying is always a problem but nobody knows the severity of it and how bad it is until something like this happens.
"I think people should be careful of what they say around people and read people a little more, and I think the people who are getting bullied need to speak up ... there's so many people in this world, there is always somebody who will be there for them and someone who's been through it."
Younger brother to Cody, Darby Ryan, said Dolly was "a real nice, hard-working, kind-hearted girl who would never give up whatever she did".
Darby said he couldn't believe the heartbreaking news when he heard.
"Don't do it (bullying) because look what happens ... a 14-year-old girl thought this was the only way out," he said.
Father of the boys, Jim Ryan, said it was a pleasure knowing Dolly and her sister.
"Her mum and dad will never see her grow into the beautiful young lady she was destined to be," Mr Ryan spoke out to the crowd.
"My heart breaks that this little girl's loneliness was so unbearable she thought the only way was to leave this world.
"I'm sure we have all had moments like this but look around you - you are not alone."
Friends said they wished to honour the girl who wanted people to stand up and "speak even if your voice shakes".
Every day across Australia, thousands of children, adolescents and adults are suffering the pain and humiliation of being bullied.
Bullying can come in many forms including: verbal, physical, cyber, emotional/social/indirect bullying.
There is always ways to reach out for help for yourself or others.
Bully Zero foundation on 1800 028 559
Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636
Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800 www.kidshelpline.com.au
Headspace 1800 650 890 www.headspace.org.au
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