December 6, 2022

Townsville (Australia), Sep 30 : The Grandstand at the Riverway Stadium in Townsville, Queensland on Friday was officially named after late Australia cricketing great Andrew Symonds.

The ribbon cutting of unveiling of the grandstand at the stadium named in honour of Symonds was done his children Chloe and Billy along with wife Laura Vidmar, mother Barbara Symonds and aunt Louise Symonds in an emotional occasion organised by the Townsville City Council.

“I loved to go to the park and play with him, and then we’d come here (Riverway) and play in the nets. He loved teaching Will about cricket too, so he’d teach Will a lot and I’d throw the balls. Thank you so much for naming the grandstand after him. It feels like he’s going to be loved from every direction, like he’s going to be loved by everyone,” Symonds’ daughter Chloe, 10, was quoted as saying on the official website of the Townsville City Council.

Billy, 8, called the naming of grandstand after his father “unreal”. “I’ll obviously remember this moment because it’s been a huge shock to the world, but I’ll always remember that he’s always up there and he’s always looking down at me. I wish I got to say goodbye to him. I might start a footy career, I might start a cricket career, we’ll see how life goes.”

Earlier in August this year, Billy and Chloe, along with their dogs Buzz and Woody, laid their dad’s baggy green, cricket bat and akubra hat at the innings break of the 50-over a side contest between Australia and Zimbabwe at the Riverway Stadium.

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Symonds, the two-time ODI World Cup winner and one of the most recognisable faces in international cricket, was killed in what police said was a single-car crash on May 14 outside Townsville, on the north-eastern coast of Queensland, Australia. The 46-year-old died at the scene of the mishap. Will and Chloe also took up drinks carriers’ duties during the match.

Symonds’ mother Barbara felt the grandstand would help people to remember the cricketing legacy of her late son. “I know how much Andrew loved the North, but home was Townsville � and in that way I think it’s very special that Townsville has honoured him in naming the grandstand after him.”

“I know the loss will never go away, particularly for me, because I lost my husband two years earlier. I’d have given everything to have him standing beside me when this happened.”

“Now I’ve lost two men in my family, and I can’t say it’s easy, but it’s lovely that things like this happen and that we can celebrate his life. I feel that Andrew was looked up and he did something for these young people, and hopefully his legacy will carry on in that way.”

Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill said it was a fitting tribute for the community-focused sports star. “Roy was a proud North Queenslander who gave back to the Townsville community through charity and his involvement in junior sports. He was also a great friend to many people and would light up any room he was in.”

“Roy’s passing has been a tragic loss to our community, and I know his absence is felt far and wide across the country. I sincerely want to thank Roy’s wife Laura, their children and his family for their support of the proposal.”

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