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Mike Willesee farewelled

Michael Willesee tribute Chairman Andrew Pridham AO pays tribute to Michael Willesee.

Hundreds gathered at St Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney on Friday for the funeral of past President, Club Patron and life member Michael Willesee.

The veteran TV journalist who was host of Four Corners and A Current Affair lost his battle with throat cancer aged 76.

Sydney Swans officials including Chairman Andrew Pridham AO and Senior Coach John Longmire were in attendance for the service.

Willesee was inducted onto the Sydney Swans Heritage List, along with fellow True Believers; John Gerahty, Craig Kimberley, Basil Sellers and Peter Weinert in 2015.

At a time when the future of the Sydney Swans looked in doubt throughout the late 1980s and early 90s, the group stepped in to ensure the survival of the club they loved.

Pridham paid tribute to the contribution of Michael Willesee to the Sydney Swans at the Club’s Guernsey Presentation and Hall of Fame dinner earlier this week.

“Apart from his unique pioneering skills as a journalist, Mike had a deep love for the Sydney Swans,” Pridham shared.

“He maintained that passion for the Club right up until his death last week at the age of 76.

“We pay our deepest respects to his family and his memory.

“I know that Michael was so proud of this club.

“I still remember the smile on his face after he joined the team to sing the song in the rooms after a big win in 2017.

“Mike could not believe that his beloved club, who back in 1988 were operating out of facilities that most amateur clubs would have rejected that one day we would occupy a building such as the Royal Hall of Industries.

“That is a landmark and tangible statement that his quest and the quests of others to save South Melbourne was such a rousing success.

“Whilst Mike is no longer with us in the flesh he certainly hasn’t lost his voice because it continues in everything that he has achieved, his vision lives on in all of us and everything that this Club stands for.

“I think it is fitting that Mike’s vision and commitment to rebuilding a Club over a 55-year association will be immortalised in bricks and mortar in a building that symbolises the Sydney Swans being here to stay.

“In the years ahead when you do pass the Royal Hall of Industries, the SCG or Lakeside Oval in Melbourne you should think of the efforts of people like Mike Willesee and his voice singing cheer cheer the red and the white.”