CANBERRA: A 14-year-old girl who was the angelic face of an iconic Australian bushmen’s hat brand was remembered by hundreds of mourners on Friday after her suicide focused attention on the dangers of cyberbullying.
The memorial service for Amy “Dolly” Everett was held in the tiny Northern Territory town of Katherine near her family’s cattle ranch. Most mourners dressed in her favourite colour, blue, and many had driven hundreds of kilometres from distant ranches.
A photograph of a young Dolly, her smiling face framed by sun-kissed curls and shaded by a rabbit-felt hat, has been featured in advertising of Akubra Hats since 2009, most recently this past Christmas.
Her family has blamed recent online bullying after Dolly’s death last week but hasn’t given specifics of the bullying or her cause of death. The tragic news travelled quickly via social media from the remote and sparsely populated cattle country of Australia’s rugged far north.
“We are shocked and distressed to hear of the passing of ‘Dolly’,” Akubra said in a statement.
Stating that she chose to end her life to escape being bullied, the company said, “To think that anyone could feel so overwhelmed and that suicide was their only option is unfathomable.”
Her father, Tick Everett, flanked by his wife Meg and daughter Meg, urged parents to speak to their children about their relationships and bullying.
“Speak even if your voice shakes,” he said, quoting a caption of a sketch of a dancer that Dolly had recently drawn. “Stop bullying and be kind and do it for Dolly,” he added.
Published in Dawn, January 13th, 2018