Updates from Tom Hafey's funeral

Members of the general public have described Tom Hafey in loving terms as they make their way into the MCG for his funeral service. The bottom tier of the MCC Members stand is also full of people who have ventured to the home of football to be a part of what is truly a celebration of a great life.

The flags atop the scoreboard are flying at half-mast as the service is broadcast live for the public to watch on the ground's big screens.

There is no shortage of fans wearing club colours, predominantly yellow and black, but so too black and white, and even those wearing the colours of Essendon, Sydney and others.

The service began with MC Eddie McGuire welcoming those in attendance. "Tommy Hafey didn't have time to fear death, he was too busy living life," McGuire said, the four premiership cups won by Hafey's Tigers acting as an appropriate backdrop. Hafey's coffin lies next to the podium, draped in Tiger skin.

Hafey's granddaughter Samantha then sang 'Dream a little dream' for the mourners as a montage of Hafey's life was shown.

Hafey's brother Peter detailed Hafey's life growing up in East Malvern and his schooling at Melbourne High, before reminiscing about all that Hafey did in his respective coaching jobs, beginning with his success in Shepparton. Post-coaching, Hafey "loved sportsman's nights" and helping clubs in the community. "He spoke to schools, he spoke to prisoners, he spoke to corporate people," Hafey's brother said, emphasising how Hafey's message of positivity could resonate across society.

Peter read out an emotional letter that Tom had received from a schoolgirl who aborted a planned suicide after listening to Hafey's inspirational words at school.

It was then the turn of Hafey's daughters, Rhonda, Karen and Joanne then spoke about life with their father. Not surprisingly, physical activity outdoors and cups of tea were recurring themes. As proud as they were of their father's footballing achievements, they were prouder of all he did for them personally.

Tom's grandchildren recounted their own experiences with Hafey, including his hours spent watching Test cricket in his bathers at Sorrento. "Tommy lived his life to the full. Let his passion never be forgotten." said grandson Max.

Making their way into the ground, fans stopped to remember all that which was great about Hafey.

Jeff was a member of the Richmond cheer squad during the club's golden era in the 1960s and 1970s. He says Hafey will be "remembered both as an immortal of Richmond and an immortal of the game."

Lorraine, a Melbourne supporter draped her in club's scarf emphasised Hafey's healthy approach to living, describing him as "inspirational in keeping everyone fit and active."

Georgia heard Hafey speak at her school eight years ago, and came to pay her respects to "a great man and legend of Richmond."

Rod met Hafey during his time in Sydney, and described how Hafey helped with his development as a junior football coach. "I love the man," he said.

AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan fronted the media and highlighted Hafey's leadership qualities, and his work in the community. McLachlan spoke of Hafey's remarkable "zest for life."

The story Updates from Tom Hafey's funeral first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

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