Family and friends of Liliane Derden at her memorial service on Thursday. Photo: Jamila Toderas
MH17 victim Liliane Derden was remembered on Thursday at an overflowing memorial service at the Kamberra Winery in Canberra's North for the devoted mother who was taken far sooner than she should have been.
The winery could not fit the hundreds of friends, family, and colleagues who came to farewell the 50-year-old, mother-of-two.
Liliane Derden's memorial service. Photo: Jamila Toderas
Ms Derden’s daughters Cassandra and Chelsea Gibson greeted guests with hugs and tears and released two white doves in their mother’s memory.
Ms Derden was the youngest of four brothers and four sisters who grew up in Belgium.
She was on her way back to Canberra via Perth after visiting her siblings in Belgium and traveling with her daughter Chelsea when Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down over Ukraine.
Liliane Derden's daughters Chelsea and Cassandra, at the memorial service. Photo: Jamila Toderas
Chelsea Gibson, who traveled back separately, said she was one of her mother's two biological children but just one of her many adopted children.
She remembered her mum as someone you could “laugh with and laugh at, she didn’t mind” and said Ms Derden sent hilarious one-line text messages which made everyone laugh.
Ms Gibson also paid tribute to other families of MH17 victims.
Memorial for MH17 victim Liliane Derden
Hundreds of family and friends gathered in Canberra to pay tribute to MH17 victim Liliane Derden. Photo: Jamila Toderas
"We give our deepest condolences to other victims of MH17," she said.
Liliane’s best friend Carly Taylor delivered the eulogy, and said Ms Derden grew up loving swimming and riding horses, and was a "such a naughty student her teachers never wanted to see her again".
Ms Taylor said her friend loved the band Queen and enjoyed watching movies on the couch with her partner of more than 20 years, CJ.
"Her life was for her friends and for her family. She would adopt anyone needing help," Ms Taylor said.
The family also wished to pay tribute to others who died on Malaysian Airlines flight MH17.
Ms Taylor "all of our worlds changed" when the aeroplane was shot out of the sky on July 17. "I hope we can put aside the sad and the bad and remember the happy times," Ms Taylor said.
She added the family wanted to thank those who had offered them support and help.
"It has been a difficult situation and want to say thanks to those who have helped the family," she said.
Born in 1963 to Irmgard and August Derden, Ms Derden grew up in the town of Brascheet in Belgium. She met Australian baseball player Craig Gibson when he was traveling in Belgium.
Three months pregnant with daughter Cassandra, Ms Derden then moved to Australia in 1989 and became close to Canberra's baseball community. Soon after came the birth of her second daughter Chelsea and her marriage to Mr Gibson.
After separating, she met her new partner CJ in 2001 and has been in love with him ever since.
A ceremony will be held next week in Belgium for her family who could not make it on Thursday.