A mother and two of her three children have been farewelled at a funeral on the New South Wales North Coast after their car plunged into the Tweed River last week.
The bodies of 43-year-old Stephanie King, seven-year-old Jacob and 11-year-old Ella Jane were found in a car in the flooded Tweed River last Tuesday.
Eight-year-old Chloe May, who managed to escape, attended the funeral with her father, Matthew Kabealo.
Mr Kabealo paid tribute to his partner and children and hailed Ms King as a dedicated mother.
“Steph came into her own when she became a parent,” Mr Kabealo said.
“She was our mother of the year every year.”
A statement, written by Chloe May, was read to the congregation by Pastor Rob Stuttle.
“If ever I needed any help or anything my mum would always be there to help and support me,” he read.
“Ella-Jane would play games with me, make jokes and it would be heaps of fun and little Jakey was an energetic little boy who was almost always happy.”
Superintendent Wayne Starling said last week that he believes the young girl escaped the car with the help of her mother.
“I have no doubt she’s a hero,” he said.
“She would be alive today if she wasn’t trying to save her children.”
He said divers found Ms King holding one of her children and she appeared to be trying to get them out of the car as she passed away.
Ms King’s mother, Heather King, told the congregation her daughter Stephanie paid the ultimate sacrifice.
“She sacrificed her own life for her children,” she said.
“She would never have left her children and Ella-Jane would never have left her mother and Jakey.”
This post originally appeared on ABC News.
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