Well-wisher gives Aisling's grieving family holiday in Brisbane

By Rachel Tiffen

The parents and big sister of toddler Aisling Symes have been presented with a holiday in Brisbane to help them recover from their grief.

Gestures of goodwill have been pouring in since the 2-year-old's body was found in a stormwater drain just over a month ago, 200m from her late grandparents' Henderson home where she disappeared. Police had scoured the area for a week and feared she had been kidnapped.

"It [the holiday] was a nice surprise. I mean these people just turned up and said, 'We have decided to do this for you,' but we didn't know they'd arranged it or anything," said Aisling's father, Allan, yesterday.

He said the family had been "overwhelmed by love and support" from the community since losing their youngest daughter.

Mr Symes said he was taking life week by week, "still heavy with grief but pushing through".

"Little Aisling is never far from our thoughts," he said.

Mr Symes, Aisling's mum, Angela, and her 5-year-old sister Caitlin will leave next weekend, but he said they had not thought beyond that.

"We'll just be chilling and finding a few things to do."

Aisling's uncle David Ball said the holiday away was just what the family needed.

The offer came shortly after Aisling's body was found, he said.

"Other people were just dropping flowers at the church and at their place ... People are really kind."

Meanwhile, Waitakere City councillors are frustrated at not being privy to a report into management of the drain Aisling was found in.

Waitakere Mayor Bob Harvey called for a report by senior council engineers after it was revealed that five complaints had been made about it flooding. But two days after acting coroner Garry Evans opened an inquiry into Aisling's drowning, he asked the council to report back on the drain, as part of the police and coroner's officers' investigation.

That report was to go to the coroner this week, but councillors were not briefed on its content.

- NZ Herald

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