Family, friends and Australian sporting icons have gathered in Townsville to remember the late Andrew Symonds.
Family, friends and Australian sporting greats have gathered in Townsville to remember the late Andrew Symonds, who was tragically killed in a car accident earlier this month.
Former Test captain Ricky Ponting, who recently returned from the sub-continent after his Delhi Capitals failed to make the Indian Premier League semi-finals, arrived for the private funeral alongside his wife and legendary wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist.
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Gilchrist reflects on ‘beautiful’ service
Adam Gilchrist has spoken to the media after a private service was held for Andrew Symonds in Townsville.
Holding back tears, the former Australian wicketkeeper said the service was “simply beautiful” as he reflected on memories with his “mischievous” mate.
“The service was just simply beautiful,” Gilchrist said.
“In its entirety, it was full of sadness, but just such wonderful beautiful memories of a guy that just gave so much of himself to so many people unconditionally.
He said Symonds’ former Queensland and Australian teammate Jimmy Maher delivered “one of the most beautiful” eulogies he had ever heard, which included a message directly to Symonds’ children Chloe and Will.
Gilchrist said despite the sadness of the occasion, he shared a moment with Will that cheered him up.
“I just bumped into Will and he said to me ‘I’m a wicketkeeper now’. Sorry Roy,” he laughed, looking to the heavens.
“We’ve all spoken so much about Roy, shared so many stories, and there’s been barely a mention of the cricketing exploits.
“He was just a pure heart, found his way into trouble as well as anyone… (and) loyal beyond belief.”
Sporting legends arrive for Symonds’ funeral
Ashes hero Mitchell Johnson and Queensland rugby league icons Darren Lockyer Gorden Tallis were also among those attending Friday morning’s private service.
Symonds’ two children and their mother Laura were consoled by guests while entering the venue, with son Billy seen holding his father’s trademark Akubra hat.
During the service, Symonds’ timber coffin was surrounded by a selection of hats, a cricket bat, a crab pot and a bouquet of flowers.
Attendees were told it was a strictly no jacket or tie affair.
Symonds will be honoured in a public memorial service at Townsville’s Riverway Stadium at 2.30pm AEST, which will be broadcast live on Fox Cricket and streaming platform Kayo.
“This is a way we can say thank you and goodbye,” Townsville Major Jenny Hill said.
“An event like this provides many people closure around Andrew‘s life and what happened.
“It‘s an absolute tragedy that it happened, and we’ve lost a true ambassador for the North and a true larrikin.”
Former Australian wicketkeeper Ian Healy will MC the event, while former teammates Darren Lehmann, Matthew Mott and Jimmy Maher are expected to speak.
“If Roy shook your hand you had his word, that’s the sort of bloke he was and that’s why I always wanted him on my team,” Ponting tweeted after Symonds’ death.
“An extraordinary player and even better human being. Can’t believe he’s gone. Thoughts are with his family at this time.”
The 46-year-old was killed after his car rolled on the rural Harvey Range Road outside Townsville.