Teenager Amy ‘Dolly’ Everett farewelled in emotional service in Katherine
Published: 12 January 2018
Hundreds of mourners have gathered to farewell Amy “Dolly” Everett, a teenager from a well-known Northern Territory cattle family who tragically took her own life last week after being bullied online.
Friends and family met at Katherine East’s Casuarina Street Primary School this afternoon to pay their respects to the 14-year-old, wearing her favourite colour of blue and releasing white balloons and butterflies into the sky.
Dolly, who was once the face of the Australian Akubra hat company, “did what she thought she had to do to escape the evil in this world,” her father wrote in a heartrending social media post.
The death has shocked the community, and sparked a passionate campaign to put an end to bullying, with even the Prime Minister weighing in.
“Dolly, you are loved and will never be forgotten,” Malcolm Turnbull wrote on Facebook.
“As a parent and as a grandparent, my heart breaks for Dolly and her family. From pain and loss we must renew our commitment to say no to bullying.”
Her family has remembered Dolly as a “precious angel,” taking to social media to thank the community for their love and support.
The teenager attended boarding school in Queensland, and the college said it was “deeply saddened” by her loss, and will hold a special commemorative service for students and community members in honour of Dolly’s life.
“Our thoughts and prayers remain with Dolly’s family and all those impacted by this heart-breaking event,” Scots PGC College wrote in a social media post.
Earlier this week, Dolly’s father shared his family’s devastation over her death, and called for an end to bullying and harassment with the launch of an anti-bullying campaign in Dolly’s name.
“If we can help other precious lives from being lost and the suffering of so many, then Doll’s life will not be wasted,” he wrote.
“I know for some, suicide is considered cowardly but I guarantee those people wouldn’t have half the strength that my precious little angel had, Doll had the strength to do what she thought she had to do to escape the evil in this world.
“Unfortunately Dolly will never know the great pain and emptiness left behind.”
No details were given as to how his daughter was bullied or who was responsible, but Mr Everett did challenge her tormentors to come to her funeral.
“If by some chance the people who thought this was a joke and made themselves feel superior by the constant bullying and harassment see this post, please come to our service and witness the complete devastation you have created,” he wrote.
Mr Everett then urged the community to come together to stand up to bullying.
“For the strong ones, let’s stop the bullies no matter where, but especially in our kids, as the old saying goes,” he wrote.
“You will never know what you have until it’s gone.”
He ended the post with several hashtags, including #STOPBULLYINGNOW, #ANGELGIRL, #DOLLY, and #SPEAKNOWEVENIFYOURVOICESHAKES – a reference to a drawing Dolly made before her death, showing a girl doing a back bend with those words written above her in all capital letters.
Instead of sending flowers to today’s service, people were asked to donate to the anti-bullying charity the family has launched, called Dolly’s Dream.
Dolly became well-known around the country after she became the face of Akubra hats in 2010.
The company expressed its dismay at her passing in a statement posted to Facebook earlier this week.
“This is not an easy post to write,” the Akubra wrote.
“We were shocked and distressed to hear of the passing of “Dolly” – the young girl many of you will recognise from our past Christmas adverts. This beautiful photo was taken 8 years ago.
“Dolly chose to end her life last week due to bullying. She was not even 15 years old.
“To think that anyone could feel so overwhelmed and that this was their only option is unfathomable.
“Bullying of any type is unacceptable. It is up to us to stand up when we see any kind of bullying behaviour. Dolly could be anyone’s daughter, sister, friend. We need to make sure anyone in crisis knows there is always someone to talk to.
“Be a friend, check up on your mates.”
The company expressed its condolences to Dolly’s family, saying their “hearts go out” to all of her loved ones.
Friends and family also took to social media with an outpouring of messages of love and support.
“Many thoughts to you and your family. I commend you using such a tragedy as a podium for the devastation that bullying, particularly online, can cause. I hope from such a loss that there will be many who recognise the impact their words can have and take a fresh approach in their interaction with others. Much love,” Josh McEntee wrote.
“My thoughts are with you and your family. May your beautiful little girl be at peace now. Sending love and strength,” Jaz Smith wrote.
“Sending all the love in the world to you and your family,” Bailey Sidel wrote to Dolly’s sister Meg Everett. “Rest in paradise doll.”
“My kids have both been on the receiving end of bullying, it’s a very low form of human that gets their kicks from hurting others. My heart breaks for you all. Xxoo She is a beautiful girl gone far too soon,” JjLamb said.
The profile picture Dolly’s father and sister have used to promote the campaign, a picture of Dolly with the words, “Dolly took her own life to escape bullying #STOPBULLYINGNOW,” has been shared more than 2000 times.