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Thousands flock to MCG for Warnie’s state memorial service

A near packed-out MCG farewelled Shane Warne yesterday during an emotional state memorial service. The crowd shed tears of joy, mourning and laughter as family and friends spoke.

The larrikin, party boy, philanthropist and cricketer was renowned for his say-it-as-it-is attitude and scorn for the ceremony. Shane Warne’s family encouraged fans in the stands to wear cricket gear and many flocked to the MCG in whites and padding.

Shane Warne's funeral
Image courtesy: Getty images.

A host of cricketing greats and celebrities attended the state funeral. Greta Bradman, the granddaughter of Australian cricketing legend Sir Donald Bradman, sang the national anthem. There were musical tributes from Elton John, Chris Martin and Ed Sheeran, among others, who, via video, played some of Warnie’s favourite songs.

When a star-studded, commentary-style panel was asked to summarise Warnie with one word, they echoed familiar sentiments. “Genuine”. “Entertainer”. As if he were sitting beside the spin king in the commentary box on a muggy, summer afternoon, cricketing legend Merv Hughes offered a response that would surely have made Warnie proud: “bogan, a deadset bogan”.

Warne’s children – Jackson, Brooke and Summer – closed the ceremony with heartfelt speeches which suggested Warnie may have been an even better father than he was a spin bowler.

The ceremony also involved the unveiling of the Shane Warne Stand, ensuring Warnie, already a dominant figure in MCG history will be remembered forever.

An estimated and gob-smacking one billion people tuned into the memorial service which was beamed live to cricketing heartlands such as India and Bangladesh.