THE FAMILY of Richie Benaud have turned down the offer of a State Funeral for the former Australian cricketer and commentator.
Australian prime minister Tony Abbot had offered the honour after Mr. Benaud passed away last week at the aged of 84.
But Mr. Benaud’s widow, Daphne, declined the offer indicating that a private family service will be held instead. This would be in keeping with Mr. Benaud’s own wishes. He had indicated that he wished for something “very quiet and very, very private”.
Mr. Abbot said he believed the offer of a State Funeral had been justified: “I thought it was important that as a mark of respect that we have long had for Richie that we should offer a State Funeral. But my understanding is that Richie’s own wishes were for something very quiet.”
Mr. Benaud, who had been a pioneering leg-spin bowler, had played in 63 Tests for Australia and had captained the side on 28 occasions. He retired in 1964 before going on to becoming one of the most respected commentators of the sport.
He was regarded by many fans as the “iconic voice of the summer”. Tributes were paid from throughout the cricketing world. His final commentary in England was during the 2005 Ashes series (see below).
A private family funeral for Mr. Benaud took place on April 15. At a commemoration service which followed members of the Benaud family were joined by a number of former players including Shane Warne and Ian Chappell.
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