Australia bid farewell to Mrs McGrath

Published: Wednesday, June 25, 2008, 12:20 [IST]
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Sydney: Australian cricketing greats joined Prime Minister Kevin Rudd Wednesday at the funeral of former Test bowler Glenn McGrath's wife Jane, who died at the weekend after a long bout with cancer.

At a service in the same Sydney church where the pair were married in 1999, mourners paid tribute to Jane McGrath and her work supporting women with breast cancer through the McGrath Foundation.

The 42-year-old lost her 11-year fight with the disease on Sunday, leaving behind her husband and two children James, eight, and Holly, six.

Glenn McGrath arrived with his children at the service, which was also attended by former Test cricketers Shane Warne, Steve Waugh, Darren Lehmann, Ian Healy and Michael Bevan.

Tracey Bevan, wife of Michael, described Jane as 'the best friend anyone could ever have'.

"The Jane McGrath I know is loving, kind, generous, extremely funny, creative, sensitive, a loyal wife, a loving mother," she said.

"We've cried together but mostly we've laughed together."

"I'll miss her every day until I see her again."

Ms Bevan recalled the pair's bizarre superstition of each wearing the same pair of lucky knickers every day, convincing themselves the ritual was behind Australia's golden run of success in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

"We believe we're the main reason why the Aussie cricket team became such legends of the game," she said.

"Without us and our lucky cherry Marks and Spencers knickers, I'm not too sure Aussie cricket would be as formidable as it is."

Former Wallabies coach Alan Jones, now a Sydney talkback radio host, praised McGrath's determination to help others, despite her own illness.

"Every day was a battle, yet paradoxically every day she sought to strengthen others in their same battle," he said.

"While the foundation was the centre of her life, it was also the hardest thing in her life."


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