Shane Warne memorial service: cricket fans flock to MCG to bid farewell to Australia’s spin king – live updates | Sport
Tonight will also mark the official unveiling of the Melbourne Cricket Ground’s ‘Shane Warne Stand.’
The 45,000 capacity Great Southern Stand will be renamed the Shane Warne Stand (chosen ahead of the SK Warne Stand), with the legendary bowler’s full name preferred for the stand by his family.
Host Eddie McGuire had previously said it was fitting the Great Southern Stand was renamed after Warne, having been initially open in the 1930s to allow the public to watch cricket.
Fans have been streaming into the MCG for a while now, with the stadium expected to be packed for the service.
One fan outside the ground spoke to ABC News, and seemed to capture how many of the attendees are feeling:
He’s a legend, he’s just absolutely a legend.
I have followed cricket since I was nine years old, I am a lot older now, but he is just Australian, he is just somebody that anybody can actually relate to.
And we have the official order of service for tonight, which will begin at 7pm:
Good evening, Mostafa Rachwani with you to take you through Shane Warne’s memorial service at the hallowed MCG.
We are expecting tens of thousands of mourners and fans to attend tonight, in addition to a raft of celebrity guests including Russell Crowe, Hugh Jackman, James Packer, Eric Bana, Greg Norman and Kelly Slater. Everyone will be paying their respects to the great man who died suddenly of a heart attack in Thailand earlier this month.
Television personality Eddie McGuire’s production company has put the event together and he will be hosting the memorial.
A number of local and international musical acts are expected to perform both live in-person and with prerecorded songs including Elton John, Chris Martin, Robbie Williams and Ed Sheeran.
Jon Stevens is set to front a band playing a medley of Warne’s favourite INXS and Noiseworks songs while Anthony Callea will also sing.
Warne’s father, Keith, is expected to give a speech. Warne’s three children and his brother, Jason, will also be in attendance.
The scale of the memorial reflects how much Warne meant to people here in Australia and around the world.
The memorial is due to begin at 7pm local time (in about 45 minutes) and will run for more than two hours. Stick around for reactions and live updates as we celebrate the life and times of Warnie.