Mother-of-three Kelly Wilkinson has been remembered as a “strong, fierce woman with an enormous heart” at a vigil in the Gold Coast.
Hundreds gathered in Parkwood on Monday afternoon to pay tribute to the 27-year-old, who was allegedly murdered by her estranged husband last Wednesday.
The crowd, many wearing green – Ms Wilkinson’s favourite colour – included her father Reg Wilkinson and sisters Natalie and Emma Wilkinson and Danielle Carroll.
“Kelly was a beloved daughter, sister and mother,” the family said in a statement, which was read out by local MP Sam O’Connor.
“She had always said that being a mother was the best job in the world, and loved nothing more than watching the kids play.
“Kelly was a strong, fierce woman with an enormous heart.
“She would help others regardless of the events in her own life, she would stand tall beside the people close to her and give more than she had.”
The statement said Ms Wilkinson was the “protector” of the family, who was never afraid to push boundaries.
She loved riding motorcycles on clifftops as much as getting dressed up and flaunting her favourite jewellery.
“Her family will always remember a young girl who could mess with the toughest boys, who would walk away with broken bones as if they were scratches,” the family’s statement read.
“Kelly was one of a kind, and there are no words that can describe how much she’s missed, and the hole she’s left within our lives.”
Mr O’Connor, who helped organise the event, said it was a tragedy to lose another woman to domestic violence.
“To lose yet another woman in this way is a stain on our society and city,” he said.
“I will do everything I can to make sure this tragedy leads to change. This must stop.”
The crowd also heard from Shane, chaplain of the school attended by two of Ms Wilkinson’s children.
“It is important that we do not let this tragedy define Kelly, or what she will be remembered for, even though the circumstances may, and hopefully will, be a catalyst for change,” he said.
“Kelly was more than this, she was a loving mother to her three precious children, a loving daughter and sister, a loyal friend, selfless and kind.”
Susie from the Arundel Presbyterian Church, who walked her children to school with Ms Wilkinson and her three children, led the crowd in a prayer for her friend, her family and the tight-knit community.
“We are all in shock and many of us feel such regret that we hadn’t done more,” she said.
The vigil concluded with a minute’s silence and a performance of Ed Sheeran’s Supermarket Flowers, the lyrics of which speak of someone spreading their wings and being taken back by God.
Ms Wilkinson had told her family the line “you were an angel in the shape of my mum” brought back memories of her mother Karen, who died suddenly two months ago.
A GoFundMe has been set up by the family to pay for Ms Wilkinson’s funeral costs and her three children’s schooling.
Ms Wilkinson’s estranged husband, Brian Earl Johnston, 34, has been charged with her murder.
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