Grieving mum of boy who drowned in public pool fights for right to have a funeral for her son after Victoria imposed a ban on the ceremonies a day before he was set to be farewelled
- A mother has pleaded for a funeral attendance exemption as lockdown begins
- Skye Meinen’s son Cooper Onyett died last Friday while on a school camp
- His funeral service is planned for tomorrow, the same day the lockdown begins
- The current lockdown laws mean only ten people can attend the funeral service
- Ms Meinen is willing to change the setting of the funeral if restrictions are lifted
The Victorian government is likely to grant an exemption to its latest lockdown rules for the funeral of an eight-year-old boy who died while on school camp.
Cooper Onyett drowned at a Port Fairy indoor swimming pool last week while on his first overnight camp with his grade two class from Merrivale Primary School.
His family are due to hold his funeral in their hometown of Warrnambool, 250km west of Melbourne, on Friday – the first day of the state’s seven-day lockdown.
Cooper Onyett (pictured) was attending his first overnight school camp with his grade two class when he drowned
Under the restrictions, funerals are restricted to 10 mourners, plus those required to conduct the service.
Cooper’s mother Skye Meinen said she was ‘shocked and angered’ the restrictions affect regional Victoria, where there have been no positive cases of COVID-19.
‘We really need support tomorrow from family and friends to get us through this,’ she tearfully told 3AW radio on Thursday.
‘We’ve all been so strong … it would be detrimental to rip away the support that we’ve all welcomed and needed. It’s not something that we need right now.’
Cooper Onyett (middle) with his family who say they need the support of their family and friends at the funeral
Ms Meinen said she was open to holding the funeral outdoors with masks to allow for more mourners.
Acting Premier James Merlino said he had asked the public health team to contact the family to discuss a possible exemption.
‘This is a particularly tragic case … it’s every parent’s worst nightmare – giving your kids a kiss, they’re excited to go off to camp and then we have this tragic incident,’ he told reporters on Thursday.
Mr Merlino said it would be up to the public health team to make an exemption.
‘But we do have extenuating circumstances,’ he said.
A GoFundMe page set up to help the family cover Cooper’s funeral costs has already raised more than $95,000.
Cooper Onyett’s (pictured) funeral is scheduled to be held at the Wannon Rooms Function centre in Woornamble on Friday at 11am
Victorian acting Premier James Merlino said the public health team had been in contact with Ms Meinen