A fitting send-off for Bill Wynn
"THEY could pick a pretty good team out of here," Clarence Valley cricket stalwart Graham Mackie observed as he took his pew for the funeral of Bill Wynn.
St Mary's Catholic Church was filled yesterday to farewell Bill, who had touched so many lives through his family, teaching and sporting endeavours.
The former South Grafton High School teacher, soccer player, cricketer and lawn bowler died last week after a long battle with cancer. He had just turned 60.
It was testimony to the impact he made on sport here that so many people travelled so far to see him off.
Former Australian Country cricket captain Mark Curry, who played cricket with Bill's South Services team in the mid 1990s, travelled from Newcastle for the funeral.
Leading umpire Darren Goodger, who remembers umpiring Bill in his first grade debut - he scored 66 and was run out - made the journey from Sydney.
His children, Steph, Bill Jnr and Robyn, told what it was like to have Bill as a father.
"Dad was the type of man who enters your life and leaves a huge imprint on your heart," Steph said.
"I am so proud to be able to say Bill Wynn was my father and I will forever cherish my childhood and the wonderful family memories I have."
Bill Jnr recalled a father he looked up to as a hero, who became his soccer coach and captain on the cricket field.
"Seeing so many of his friends and relatives here today is a good reflection of how important he was in so many people's lives," he said.
"Dad was, as I hope is the case for all sons, my hero.
"I can remember as a seven or eight year old helping my dad on the cricket drinks cart and thinking how cool it was my dad got to drive the drinks cart and I was his offsider.
"That dad would give up his Saturday mornings in summer to volunteer to drive a drinks truck to try and raise some money for his club demonstrates the type of person he was."
Bill Jnr said the positive way his father handled his battle with cancer was due to the unwavering strength and support from his mother, Bill's wife Mandy.
"During all the difficult times in dad's journey, mum's love, care, patience, strength and positivity were unwavering and fundamental to dad reaching his ultimate goal in life, which was to reach the age of 60," he said.
Bill's brothers Peter and Paul affectionately recalled what it was like growing up with a brother already beginning to demonstrate Bill's competitive and straight-talking traits.
South Grafton High teaching colleague and fellow cricketer and lawn bowler Bruce Baxter said the way Bill handled his cancer diagnosis was typical of him.
"I can remember Bill telling me of his original cancer diagnosis," Bruce said.
"The words were 'extremely rare', 'aggressive' and 'not much could be done'. Bill could easily have accepted that diagnosis and done nothing, but as we know, that was not Bill's way. Bill sought the best knowledge and treatments available and as we know he never gave up in his pursuit of life.
"In Lismore Base he would point to the daysheet of the 18/5. It was his 60th birthday. It was his his goal day and he made it with 14 days to spare."