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Hundreds gather to say goodbye to Stuart Kelly

Our thoughts are with the Kelly family at this time.

Hundreds gathered today to pay tribute to the late Stuart Kelly, brother of one-punch victim Thomas Kelly, after his unexpected death last week.

His parents, Ralph and Kathy, and sister Madeleine, remembered him fondly at a funeral service held at Sydney’s Kings School.

Mourners present at the event included Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, wife Lucy Turnbull and Premier Mike Baird, as well as hundreds of Stuart’s friends.

“Keep our beautiful boys in your hearts… go home and hug your children,” Kathy Kelly said in the same place she had farewelled her other teenage son just four years ago.

“Even though you were my little brother, I began to look at you in awe,” sister Madeleine said. “You were taller than me, bigger than me, funnier than me and sometimes even more mature than me and always took life head on.”

Ralph Kelly said Stuart’s determination “to make a difference in this world” constantly amazed him.

19-year-old Stuart took his own life in Mona Vale, Sydney last week. The catalyst for his heartbreaking act was reportedly the bullying he received for his family’s efforts to campaign for tougher laws against drunken violence in NSW.

Stuart was just 14 when his brother and “best friend” Thomas Kelly died after a random coward punch attack in Kings Cross in 2012. It was perpetrated by a drunk Kieran Loveridge.

Since the senseless loss of 19-year-old Thomas the Kelly family began the Kelly Foundation and have been campaigning for stricter laws for alcohol related violence in NSW.

On Tuesday Dr Tim Hawkes, headmaster at The King’s School where Stuart once attended, made the announcement that Stuart’s body had been found dead on the Northern Beaches. Since then reports have surfaced speculating Stuart had been tormented by online trolls furious about Sydney’s lockout laws.

“This is the second great tragedy to affect the Kelly family,” Dr Hawkes said.

“The exact circumstances surrounding his death are not known, however, it is enough to know that we have lost a member of our community and therefore our thoughts and prayers go out to Kathy and Ralph Kelly and their daughter Madeleine.”

Ralph Kelly took to Facebook to express his heartache.

“The most painful goodbyes are the ones that are never said and never explained”, Ralph wrote.

Thomas Kelly

There is no doubt Ralph and his wife Kelly were proud of their youngest son. Stuart was “too young” to speak right after his brother’s death but last year the young man delivered a rousing address to a media pack after the sentencing hearing for their son’s killer.

“I carry a deep scar that you cannot see. It’s always there, never leaves. It’s just below the surface of your skin, and surfaces when you least expect it,” Stuart told the crowd.

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“Tom never deserved to die that night, it was not meant to be his time. In fact, I believe now that it could and should have been avoided. Our family lost a son and a brother. I ask all of you to look at me, I am but one person who has been affected by violence.

“It is a sentence that I have to carry for the rest of my life. My mother, father and sister now carry this sentence. Our relatives and friends, Tom’s friends, carry this sentence.

“We are not alone, there are many many thousands of other who are directly affected by senseless violence every year. Premier (Mike Baird) will you make this promise tonight?

“Australia is an alcoholic. We need to rethink the way we drink.”

Words so powerful they will surely shape anyone’s memory of the young man.

Our thoughts are with the Kelly family during this incredibly difficult time.

Readers who need any assistance can call Lifeline on 131114 or beyondblue on 1300224636.

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