“Daniel was such a happy kid, and he wouldn’t want us all wallowing in self-pity,” Dean, who works full-time now as an arborist supervisor, tells us exclusively.
“It’s been 20 years – I miss him every day, but I know he’s never too far away.”
Strong family values run deep in the Morcombe bloodline – Daniel’s twin Bradley, now 33, was one of the last to see his brother alive.
Dean admits some families wouldn’t have survived such an unspeakable tragedy, and he credits his parents, Denise and Bruce, for keeping their already close-knit family together.
“They’re our rocks – they could’ve easily crumbled, but instead they used Daniel’s tragic death to help educate kids about the importance of being safe,” Dean says proudly.
“Their tireless campaigning through the Daniel Morcombe Foundation is an inspiration to us all.”
Growing up, Dean and Daniel were always close because of their love of motorbikes.
As for him and Bradley, Dean cheekily admits that they have plenty of parenting tips to exchange, now that they are both doting dads.
“We live 10 minutes from each other, and we chat almost every day, and Mum and Dad are not too far away and often drop in for a cuppa and catch-up,” shares Dean.
“Bradley has a son Winston who is seven and a real character. Our girls love their ‘big boy’ cousin!”
And it seems Dean’s belief that Daniel is never too far away might well ring true.
Alice, a registered nurse, says it’s no coincidence Elsie was born on a very special day for the Morcombe family.
“It was Day for Daniel in 2020. Dean left early in the morning to join the thousands of supporters for the Walk for Daniel,” she recalls. “My water broke around 7am and I called Dean and said you better get here!
“Elsie arrived just a few hours later – we like to think Daniel might’ve had a hand in making his special day one of the happiest of our lives.”
For Dean, becoming a father has been the greatest gift he could’ve hoped for.
“This new chapter has given me a whole new lease on life – and I wouldn’t change it for the world,” he says with a warm smile.
“When we’re together for special occasions we always miss Daniel – he would’ve been the best uncle, because he was already a terrific brother and a loving son.
“He will always be my beautiful little brother who sadly was taken from us way too early.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION GO TO: www.danielmorcombe.com.au