Star cricketers attend Jane McGrath’s funeral

June 25th, 2008 - 3:37 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, June 25 (IANS) Star cricketers, along with Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, joined family members and friends to pay an emotional farewell to Jane McGrath, wife of Glenn McGrath, who died of cancer. The 42-year-old wife of former Test cricketer died at her Sydney home Sunday after an 11-year battle with cancer, with her husband and children James and Holly by her side.

Cricketers and politicians were among the hundreds of people who gathered Tuesday to bid farewell to Jane at the Garrison Church in Sydney’s Rocks district, where the couple married in 1999.

Former Test cricketers Steve Waugh, Shane Warne, Mark Taylor, Darren Lehmann, Adam Gilchrist, Ian Healy and Michael Bevan, together with Bevan’s wife Tracy - Jane’s best friend and head of the McGrath Foundation - were present during the funeral.

“The Jane McGrath I know is loving, kind, generous, extremely funny, creative, sensitive, a loyal wife, a loving mother and the best friend anyone could ever have,” a tearful Tracy Bevans said about her best friend.

“She’s the one I have shared many of my fondest memories with through our cricket years, our weddings, the birth of our beautiful children James, Holly, Olivia and Amelia. We’ve cried together but mostly we’ve laughed together. I’ll miss her every day until I see her again.”

She also offered light-hearted insights into the life of a cricketer’s wife, describing their on-tour routines of washing out their lucky knickers in the shower.

“We believe we’re the main reason why the Aussie cricket team became such legends of the game. Without us and our lucky cherry Marks and Spencers knickers I’m not too sure Aussie cricket would be as formidable as it is.

“Jane and I, the two Poms, wore our knickers day in and day out. Back to back Tests were pretty hard for us, let me tell you,” Tracy was quoted as saying in The Australian.

In his eulogy, close family friend and broadcaster Alan Jones said Jane had a radiance that was hard to ignore.

“My sense is that Jane would be bewildered by the attention she’s receiving today and in these last days. But it’s a measure of the impact that she unknowingly had,” he said.

Jones described McGrath as a woman of grace and dignity, and paid tribute to her strength throughout her illness and her willingness to help others through the McGrath Foundation.

“Every day was a battle, yet paradoxically every day she sought to strengthen others in their same battle,” Jones said.

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