Vera Cunnington, 88, stayed by her daughter Dale's bedside for years as a disease took all of her faculties. To add heartbreak to her grief, a special floral arrangement has now been taken from Dale's grave.
Vera Cunnington, 88, stayed by her daughter Dale's bedside for years as a disease took all of her faculties. To add heartbreak to her grief, a special floral arrangement has now been taken from Dale's grave. Patrick Woods

Mother's sorrow thief targeted daughter's grave

THROUGH tears, a mother spoke of her "sorrow" that a thief had stolen a sentimental floral arrangement from her daughter's grave.

Vera Cunnington, 88, said if they "knew the girl" behind the pink and purple artificial flowers, they never would have taken them.

The late Dale, aged 52, was born with Down Syndrome but she died in November of a growth in her spinal column, which killed almost every main nerve taking all her faculties except hearing.

A MOTHER, grieving her daughter shared her sorrow through tears that thieves had stolen a sentimental floral arrangement from her grave. Vera Cunnington, 88, said if they knew the girl behind the pink and purple artifical florals, they never would have taken them. Her sister, Janine Gilmore (right), had hand-picked the selection of pink and purple flowers in the exact colours Dale loved in life.
Vera Cunnington with her daughter, Janine Gilmore (right), who had hand-picked the selection of pink and purple flowers in the exact colours Dale loved in life. Patrick Woods

Her sister, Janine Gilmour, and her daughter searched in the weeks after Dale's death to hand-pick the selection of pink and purple flowers in the exact colours Dale loved in life.

About three weeks ago, she visited the grave at Kulangoor Lawn Cemetery to discover only the pot remained.

"My son is buried there too and he loved purple, Dale loved pink and purple," Vera said.

"If you needed flowers so badly I would have willingly bought them for you.

"I am an old lady of 88 years and my time here is limited. I don't know who you are or how old you are but in the time you have ahead of you, please reflect on the sorrow you have inflicted on my family," she said in the hopes those responsible would hear her.

A MOTHER, grieving her daughter shared her sorrow through tears that thieves had stolen a sentimental floral arrangement from her grave. Vera Cunnington, 88, said if they knew the girl behind the pink and purple artifical florals, they never would have taken them.
Vera Cunnington, 88, is heartbroken a special floral arrangement in the exact colours her daughter loved was taken from her grave at Kulangoor Lawn Cemetery. Patrick Woods

The flowers were the same colours Vera would paint Dale's fingernails as she spent every day by her bedside, even when Dale entered palliative care.

"I slept beside that little girl for seven years... every night I knew I was losing her," she said.

Is more security needed to stop graveside thefts on the Sunshine Coast?

This poll ended on 01 May 2019.

Current Results

Yes, it would be awful to have happen to a loved one's grave.

71%

No, I don't think there's anything that can be done.

14%

I'm not sure about security, but it is becoming an issue.

14%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

Vera acknowledge her daughter wasn't a "little girl" in years, but described her as the "heart of our house and home", and remembered her "angelic" skin, beautiful blue eyes and long curls.

It pains her to remember Dale in those final moments, but Vera cherishes the first and last word she said in months, before succumbing to her disease.

"'Mum', that was the last word she said," Vera said.