Cricket world in farewell to Hughes

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Published: Wednesday 3rd December 2014 by The News Editor

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Cricket stars from around the world joined relatives and friends to celebrate the life of Phillip Hughes amid the grief and sorrow still evident from his death.

Rising star Hughes, 25, tipped to be one of the game’s greats, died last Thursday after being hit near an ear by a ball during a match at Sydney Cricket Ground.

Australia’s cricket captain Michael Clarke and the rest of the test squad gathered at Hughes’ funeral at his home town of Macksville on the northern coast of New South Wales state, 350 miles north of Sydney.

Clarke was a pallbearer and speaker at the funeral service at the Macksville Recreation Centre and which opened to the song Forever Young by Youth Group and c losed by Elton John’s Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me – the same song the entertainer and avid cricket fan performed at a concert last weekend in Germany in a tribute to Hughes.

In steaming temperatures of nearly 30 Celsius (85F) early arrivals to the service, including Australian prime minister Tony Abbott, fanned themselves with papers. Most of those who wore sports jackets and blazers had taken them off, some with shirtsleeves rolled up to their elbows.

Hughes’ coffin was at the front of the hall, near the altar for the Roman Catholic service, surrounded by flowers and cricket bats, one with his test cap on the handle.

The funeral was broadcast live around Australia on commercial television stations and on video screens at the Adelaide Oval, where the rescheduled first test with India will start next Tuesday, and the SCG, where a row of 63 bats were propped up against pickets, each with an inscription of a special moment of Hughes’ career.

Macksville residents gathered in a park near the funeral for a telecast and owners of many shops and businesses shut down to attend the funeral.

Among those to send their condolence messages was West Indies great Viv Richards, who posted on Twitter: “My heart goes out to the family, friends & the people of Macksville honouring their favourite son Phillip today. Viv.”

Commemoration ceremonies for Hughes were held in Rome, where the Vatican’s cricket team held a memorial Mass. Vatican team captain the Rev Anthony Currer presided over the service at the Venerable English College, a seminary in Rome.

He said the team wanted to show its closeness to Hughes’ family “bringing his life before God and bring it to our prayer”.

Published: Wednesday 3rd December 2014 by The News Editor

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