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Laughter and tears as Phillip Hughes is farewelled

AS THOUSANDS looked on, both inside and outside the Macksville High School hall, Phillip Hughes’ coffin was sprinkled with holy water at the opening of the ceremony.
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Then, one after the other, family and friends spoke of their love and respect for Phillip, the funny, enthusiastic, country kid who dared to dream and achieved great things.

His cousin, Nino Ramunno, told of growing up with the cousin who loved to bat and also loved his nan’s pasta and pizza.

But who also only came to cricket under sufferance when his brother Jason needed someone to make up team numbers.

From there the games of backyard cricket between the families of East St, Macksville, were endless, as was his father Greg’s patience in bowling to his son.

He spoke of how at an early age, when he moved to Sydney and went into serious training, Phillip was already slated to replace Mathew Hayden when he retired.

And his response to the challenge and the hard work that lay ahead?

A solid ‘yes’ and he never looked back.

Stories continued of the ‘fashionista’ who was a dab hand with the iron (his only domestic skill) and also the generous, loyal friend who loved most to be on the farm with his dad.

Siblings Jason and Megan both read letters to their brother, Jason cherishing those cricket battles of their childhood and Megan recalling her beloved big brother, who had a twinkle in his eye and never took anything for granted.

Family friend Corey Ireland told of the young man who had a huge passion for Angus cattle and who was planning a future breeding the very best.

“We’d begun a 10 year plan for his life as a cattle breeder after cricket,” Corey said.

“I promise I’ll keep your dream alive.”

Australian cricket team captain Michael Clarke’s speech was the most emotional.

His normally calm façade crumbled as he spoke of returning to the centre of the SCG last Thursday night, after Phillip’s death, and touching the blades of grass … the very ones, where Phillip had fallen two days earlier.

“His spirit has touched this place – it is forever sacred for me,” Michael choked.

“Rest in peace – see you out in the middle.”

The final speaker was Cricket Australia’s chief, James Sutherland – he spoke of how Phillip, like Bradman, epitomised the dream of the country boy who dreams of wearing the ‘baggy green’ … and fulfils it.

“From the fields of Macksville to the cricket fields all over the world and now to the field of dreams … cricket will forever hold Phillip in its beating heart.”

As the tears flowed and the crowds followed the coffin out of the hall, the only sound was the hovering helicopter above.

Apart from that no-one spoke and when the hearse finally moved off in the slow procession through the town, hundreds followed it.

The overwhelming feeling of locals who spoke to the Guardian was that in this small country town, Phillip had touched everyone and the sadness was everywhere.

“It’s sad for our town, for the nation and for the world,” one woman said.

Another added that the procession was a beautiful touch – a special moment to remember.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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