3000 at Taylors' tribute
More than 3,000 people from all walks of life have turned out at Woombye to honour Sunshine Coast couple Allan and Kari Taylor. Students, dancers, MPs, pastors and performers joined the huge tribute.
More than 2000 people packed into Suncoast Christian Centre for the farewell while hundreds more watched the service on giant screens outside.
A guard of honour was formed by school chaplains, dancers and staff at the end of the two-and-a-half hour ceremony where speakers paid tribute to the impact the two had made on the lives of people from around the world.
Those touched by the Taylors came from as far away as the UK, the US, New Zealand and across Australia to hear tribute after tribute to the couple.
Pastor Chas Gullo opened the service by reading the tribute by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, saying there would be few ever to be honoured in such a way by their nation's leader.
While prime minister Kevin Rudd did not attend, he released tribute to the Taylors to the Daily.
During his Nambour High days, Mr Rudd opposed Kari Taylor in a debate on the existence of God.
On Wednesday, he was paying tribute to her and husband Allan's Christian service as the Sunshine Coast prepared to farewell the couple.
Mr Rudd said Australians had been shocked and distressed by the tragic deaths of Taylors.
"Allan and Kari had stopped their car simply to help their daughter Ashleah, who had been caught in a traffic accident. Tragically, that act of parental love and responsibility led to them losing their lives in circumstances that are beyond any person's worst nightmare,'' Mr Rudd said.
"Something in this incident has deeply touched the spirits of Australians, and I know that across the nation, thousands of Australians will have the family and friends of Allan and Kari in their thoughts as they say farewell today,'' the PM said in a tribute released to the Daily.
"Both Allan and Kari were leaders and supporters of their communities, and people of strong and active Christian faith.
"I know there are hundreds of individual stories of the difference that Allan and Kari made in the lives of young people on the Sunshine Coast.''
Kari's dad Bob Sherwell remembers his daughter debating Mr Rudd on the existence of God.
She was on the affirmative team and he on the negative. "He beat her,'' Mr Sherwell recalled. "He was always good with words.''
Mr Rudd said Kari was a "talented musician, a gifted singer and an inspirational dance instructor''.
He said Mr Taylor "embodied so much of the spirit of the Sunshine Coast community - a surfer, a larrikin and a great lover of life, who was always there to help and support kids in the community as a principal, a chaplain and a mentor.
"On behalf of all Australians I extend my condolences to Ashleah and her fiancé Mitch and to Kallan; to Bob and Fran Sherwell; and to the many other family members, friends and members of the community deeply affected by this loss, in particular in the Woombye, Palmwoods, and Chevallum school communities.
"Today, we pay tribute to Allan and Kari and their lives of service to the community. Their memory will long endure.''