Phillip Hughes' funeral to attract 5000 in Macksville

A youngster pays tribute to Phillip Hughes at a shop front in Macksville yesterday. Picture: FAIRFAX

A youngster pays tribute to Phillip Hughes at a shop front in Macksville yesterday. Picture: FAIRFAX

Macksville is ready to farewell Phillip Joel Hughes.

Australian captain Michael Clarke will give a tribute at the funeral, expected to attract upwards of 5000 people, and will be one of eight pallbearers.

Other pallbearers include Victorian batsman Aaron Finch and South Australian teammate Tom Cooper.

Cooper, who shared a house with Hughes in Adelaide, was batting with him when he was hit, and removed his pads while he was receiving treatment on the field.

Hughes’ father, Gregory, brother Jason and Corey Ireland will join them.

Fairfax Regional will be running live video, blogs and updates of the funeral from 12 noon. A link to the coverage will be posted later today. 

Youth Group’s Forever Young has been selected as the opening song for the service and eulogies will be made by siblings Jason and Megan Hughes.

Preparations were finalised at the Macksville High School hall yesterday, where 1000 mourners will gather from noon today for a 2pm service.

Hughes’ family has given strict instructions that 80 per cent of mourners inside the hall should be locals, as a mark of respect to the people closest to Hughes during his humble, country upbringing.

In the likely event of an overflow, Cricket Australia has organised two big screens on ovals within the school grounds, which will accommodate another 4000 people.

Immediately after the service there will be a guard of honour on Park Street, which is adjacent to the school hall.

Several roads will then be closed for a 40-minute public procession down Wallace Street, which will end at the Pacific Highway.

Along this strip, locals have lined the street with streamers, pictures and heart-warming messages for their favourite son.

From there, close family and a select few cricketers will walk a short distance to the Macksville Ex-Services Club.

Hughes’ family have booked out the venue and it will be a private event.

The family has declined to say where Hughes will be buried.

Channel Nine’s telecast will begin at 1.30pm and the service will also be broadcast on Fairfax Radio, as well as the ABC and ABC News 24.

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