Dressed in yellow and clutching bright balloons, the Leeton community has come together to remember a vibrant and dearly-loved local.
Hundreds of people are sprawled across the grass and in the sunshine at Mountford Park in the NSW Riverina town on a day that for many of them should have been spent celebrating a wedding three hours drive away.
Stephanie Scott was due to walk down the aisle to her fiancé Aaron Leeson-Woolley in Eugowra on Saturday.
The 26-year-old was allegedly murdered last weekend and her burned remains were found in a national park 70 km from Leeton on Friday.
Ms Scott’s father paid a heart-breaking tribute to her and vowed to restore his “bright, bubbly and fun-loving” daughter’s dignity.
Robert Scott mustered the strength on Saturday afternoon to stand side-by-side with his family, barely 24 hours after her remains were found.
Mr Scott told the Leeton community that his daughter had been taken away for a short time, but now the family had her back.
“And we will restore her dignity,” he said at Ms Scott’s memorial picnic.
Mr Scott stood with his wife, Merrilyn, and remaining children, all of whom should have been at Ms Scott’s wedding on Saturday.
He remembered his daughter as an intelligent and fun-loving person who’d made a difference in the lives of many people.
“Our wishes to the future are that that will continue in your minds and you remember her as the girl she was,” he said.
“And I’m sure wherever she is now that she would wish that to be the case.
“Tragedies happen, we can’t change that, we can’t deal with it any better than we have.
“We do know we had a great girl and we are going to continue to remember her for what she was.”
As the family prepared to release yellow and gold balloons into the sky, a struggling Mr Leeson-Woolley painstakingly made his way to them, sobbing with every step and at one point howling.
Mr Leeson-Woolley, who had spent five years with Ms Scott, met his bride-to-be as a child playing soccer in their hometown of Canowindra.
Too distraught to talk, his friend Ron, who should have been his best man, said a few words in his place.
“He is obviously doing it very tough,” he said.
“I’d just like to thank the whole Leeton community for what they have done for all of us.”
In a warming show of love and support from the tight-knit community, some residents had hung wedding dresses on their front doors.
“I thank you all and its very sincere and Stephanie would be very proud of what has happened today and what will happen in the future,” Mr Scott said.
Ms Scott’s sister Kim also shared her Maid of Honour speech online on what would be her wedding day to Mr Leeson-Woolley.