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Andrew Symonds' funeral sees cricket legends and fans gather to farewell 'Roy' in Townsville

Hundreds of fans have gathered to farewell much-loved larrikin and cricket legend Andrew Symonds at a public memorial in Townsville, with former Australian captain Adam Gilchrist fighting back tears as he remembered his "loyal" friend.

Hundreds of fans have attended a public memorial celebrating the life of cricket legend Andrew Symonds in Townsville.

Key points:
  • Andrew Symonds was killed in a car crash on May 14
  • His two children, Chloe and Billy, were among the mourners
  • His casket was decorated with flowers, a cricket bat and a crab pot.

About 500 people turned out for the event at Riverway Stadium, where cricket great Ian Healy spoke about Symonds' stellar career.

"Andrew was a young teammate with a huge reputation, supremely talented," he said.

Cricket coach Darren Lehmann said Symonds was the best player he ever coached.

group of four men sit on chairsgroup of four men sit on chairs
Cricket legends Ian Healy, Adam Gilchrist, Darren Lehmann and Ricky Ponting reflect on Symonds' career. (ABC North Queensland: Zilla Gordon)

"To coach him was just a pleasure," he said.

"He was just a really talented player, he was just a fantastic cricketer.

"We are going to miss him dearly."

people sitting in grand standspeople sitting in grand stands
About 500 people turned out to pay their respects to Andrew Symonds in Townsville.(ABC North Queensland: Zilla Gordon)

Former Australian cricket captain Adam Gilchrist held back tears as he spoke to the media after this morning's private funeral.

"I literally can't believe he is gone, nor could anyone that was at that service today," he said.

"It was full of sadness but such wonderful, beautiful memories of a guy that gave so much of himself to so many people, unconditionally."

A close-up of a man in a purple and blue checked business shirt looking serious. Blue sky in the background.A close-up of a man in a purple and blue checked business shirt looking serious. Blue sky in the background.
Adam Gilchrist fought back tears while speaking to the media after the private service. (ABC News: Zilla Gordon)

Gilchrist said Symonds was an incredible all-rounder and a loyal friend.

"[Former captain] Ricky Pointing says he would pick him in any team, in any format," Gilchrist said.

"The first thing I think of is his commitment to the team, to friendship to mateship, loyal almost to a fault, his mischievous character.

"[He was] loyal beyond belief and just good fun."

Close friend and former teammate Matthew Mott said he had been dreading this day, but was pleased the funeral was a fitting tribute to his mate who was "like a brother".

"He had so much more to give to a lot of people," he said.

"It's a sad moment but it was a great service and celebrated a life well lived."

Andrew Symonds knocks a streaker to the groundAndrew Symonds knocks a streaker to the ground
Andrew Symonds made international headlines when he knocked a streaker to the ground at the Gabba in 2008. (Ezra Shaw: Getty Images)
A man who loved his family

Mott reflected on the impact Symonds' death had on the two children he left behind, Chloe and Billy, and said the cricket community had wrapped their arms around the family.

"I just kept thinking about how he won't get to see them grow up. He loved them so much and they meant so much to him," Mott said.

Sharing anecdotes of their years playing together, Mott said Symonds always brought joy to the room with his self-deprecating humour.

"He wasn’t a perfect person and he never pretended to be," he said

Glenn McGrathGlenn McGrath
Cricket legend Glenn McGrath is among the guests at the private funeral for Andrew Symonds(ABC North Queensland: Zilla Gordon)

Symonds' casket arrived at the stadium decorated with flowers, a selection of hats, a cricket bat and a crab pot — in reference to his love of fishing.

His two children and their mother Laura, were joined by guests including cricketing greats Ricky Ponting, Glenn McGrath and Mitchell Johnson.

Friends and family were seen consoling each other as they arrived for the private service, and Billy walked in holding his father's cowboy hat.

Symonds' mother Barbara and daughter Chloe were among those to deliver tributes, while former teammate Jimmy Maher delivered the eulogy.

A tribute video from former cricketer Matthew Hayden was played.

two men in shirts and sunglasses and woman with blond hair walkingtwo men in shirts and sunglasses and woman with blond hair walking
Adam Gilchrist and Ricky Ponting arrive at Symonds' private funeral.(ABC North Queensland: Zilla Gordon)

About 250 people attended the private funeral at Townsville's Riverway Stadium, where flags were flown at half-mast.

Symonds was killed when the car he was driving rolled on the rural Harvey Range Road, outside Townsville, almost two weeks ago.

The 46-year-old's passing prompted an outpouring of grief from the international cricketing community, as well as those who knew and loved the man nicknamed "Roy".

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Mayor Jenny Hill said council had worked closely with the family in the lead-up to the memorial to assist in any way they could.

"This is a way we can say thank you and goodbye," Ms 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."

Ms Hill said Symonds' contribution to the North Queensland community was immeasurable.

After starting out playing school boys cricket in Charters Towers, 136km south-west of Townsville, Symonds went on to make a name for himself on the international cricket stage as an all-rounder.

After his cricket career ended, he retired to North Queensland where he loved to go fishing.

Posted 13h ago13 hours agoFri 27 May 2022 at 12:37am, updated 8h ago8 hours agoFri 27 May 2022 at 5:33am

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