Andrew Symonds laid to rest in private service
Cricketing icon Andrew Symonds has been farewelled in a private funeral on Friday morning, ahead of a public service later that afternoon.
Symonds’ wife and children were seen clutching his beloved Akubras as they gathered with friends, teammates and other family members of the cricketer at Riverway Stadium on the outskirts of Townsville, Queensland.
The memorial comes nearly a fortnight after Symonds veered off a remote road and fatally crashed his car.
His wife Laura and their children Billy and Chloe were among the first to arrive at 10am, just an hour before the service began, and were followed a short time later by Symonds’ best friend and former teammate Jimmy Maher.
Other cricketing greats also attended the service, including Adam Gilchrist, Ian Healy, Ricky Ponting, Mark Waugh, Glenn McGrath and Micthell Johnson, as well as West Indies batsman Brian Lara and NRL player Darren Lockyer.
A note sent to guests told them “no tie necessary”, reflecting Symonds’ casual personal style and his frequent appearances at semi-formal events in shorts and t-shirts.
Some guests took the brief seriously, arriving in chinos and button-up shirts, while others wore three-piece suits.
Andrew Symonds will be publicly farewelled this afternoon in Townsville.
— Cricket Australia (@CricketAus) May 27, 2022
In lieu of flowers, guests were encouraged to donate to the Royal Flying Doctor Service.
Nigel Fairbain was the first to speak at the service, welcoming attendees to celebrate Symonds’ life.
“The gratitude his family extends to you all, with the acknowledgement to people who have travelled long distances.
“Rejoice in the life he led. Celebrate it and learn from it.
“Andrew’s life was a life well-lived, albeit cut short too early.”
Symonds’ two children both spoke after, followed by his mother Barbara and sister Louise.
A video tribute was also delivered by former teammate Matthew Hayden.
Photos of Andrew Symonds, cricket hats and his cricket bat surrounded his coffin. Image: Twitter
After the service, Gilchrist told The Daily Mail Australia that Maher delivered the best eulogy he’s ever heard.
“He looked at the kids in the eyes and told them exactly what he thought Roy would want him to say,” Gilchrist told the publication.
“The service was simply beautiful. I’ve not seen a congregation as moved as they were today - full of sadness, but also such beautiful memories of a guy who just gave so much of himself to so many people, unconditionally.
“He was loyal, almost to a fault. Mischievous character, but he would do whatever it took to help others - in and off the field.
“We’ve all spoken so much about Roy, and there’s barely been a mention of his cricketing exploits and he was one of the game's great exploits. Ricky Ponting said he’d pick him in any team in any format.”
Image: Getty Images
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