Australia

Mum’s emotional farewell to daughter killed before Christmas

Family and friends of a young girl whose life was tragically cut short before Christmas have paid tribute to a “fearless and funny” young soul at a colourful celebration of the three-year-old’s life.Hundreds of people dressed in colourful frocks and costumes gathered at Mudgeeraba Showgrounds to farewell Ormeau girl Luna Matenga after she died on…

Family and friends of a young girl whose life was tragically cut short before Christmas have paid tribute to a “fearless and funny” young soul at a colourful celebration of the three-year-old’s life.

Hundreds of people dressed in colourful frocks and costumes gathered at Mudgeeraba Showgrounds to farewell Ormeau girl Luna Matenga after she died on Tuesday.

Luna was struck by a car outside the family’s Ormeau home on December 20.

She died in her parents’ arms in hospital two days later.

On Monday, hundreds of people dressed in princess and superhero costumes to celebrate the life of the young girl in a funfair extravaganza.

A haka was performed as the tiny white casket — adorned with flowers, toys and balloons — was loaded into the hearse following the service.

Family members described her as a funny and fearless child with a bright personality.

Her mother Jessica Feeney delivered an emotional eulogy to mourners, calling Luna “her world and her best friend”.

“I feel so proud that Luna was my child,” she said.

“I wanted to make sure she was confident, I wanted to make sure she was brave, I wanted to make sure she was ambitious and she knew whatever she wanted to be, she would do it.

“In three short years, I can honestly say that is exactly what Luna has done.

“Two weeks ago, she stood on the front of her dance school stage and owned it … she put on a performance and waved to us.”

She described Luna as an outgoing and ambitious girl, who was wise beyond her years and filled with happiness.

“I will drive her to school and she’ll say to me regularly: ‘Mumma, I so happy.’ That’s amazing, what three-year-old for no reason at all, was happy like that?” Ms Feeney said.

“She felt loved … every night she would say to me: ‘Mumma, you put me to sleep, Daddy read a book, deal? Good idea?’.”

Organisers led attendees in a singalong of You Are My Sunshine during the emotional service.

Family members, including Luna’s father Timi Matenga, embraced and wiped away tears as the hearse arrived in the company of a motorcycle escort.

Choking back tears, Ms Feeney urged parents to spend more time with their children because life was “so precious”.

“Read those extra books to your kids, put your phone down, go paint, it’s messy (but) who cares?” she said.

“Because one day you might be like me and you won’t be able to do any of that, and that is gut-wrenching.

“If it teaches anyone anything, love your kids that little bit more: be patient, be kind.”

Almost $50,000 was raised for the Queensland family in less than 24 hours while Luna fought for her life on Tuesday.

That amount had increased to $93,707 this week, with family friend Clare Hamilton initially starting the GoFundMe campaign with the goal of reaching $30,000.

She said the aim of the campaign was to help the Matenga family “alleviate any stress they have about money”.

“If this situation has taught us anything it’s that money is nothing and time is everything,” she said.

“We never thought this would happen to anyone, let alone someone so close to us.”

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