Wonderful tributes were heard for the late great Ken Catchpole OAM at the Magnolia Chapel at Macquarie Park Crematorium on December 29, as mourners gathered to celebrate the life of a man hailed as the "greatest Australian rugby player of all time". Fine eulogies were heard from family and friends and a special memorial film by Theo Clark Media was played in celebration of his life and legacy.
Ken Catchpole (1939-2017) played halfback, and often captain, for the Wallabies from 1961 to 1968 before his career was cut short by injury. Many former teammates and representatives of Australian rugby attended the memorial service which was MC'd by Rodney Cavalier of the Sydney Cricket Ground Trust. Friend Tony Merrington spoke on the "young Ken", while former Australian rugby coach Bob Dwyer spoke of "Ken the rugby player and former Wallaby captain Nick Farr-Jones spoke of "Ken the legend".
My memorial video was then shown, featuring highlights of his career and tributes from team mates and fans, along with scenes from my interview with Ken in the months before he died - the last ever recordings of the great man talking about his life in rugby.
Following the video, Bob Kerry spoke of Ken at University and in the workforce, followed by Renae Erlington and son Mark Catchpole. A poem was read by Bryce Catchpole and poetry about the stages of Ken's life by his wife June Catchpole were shared in the funeral booklet, ending with "In Sight", her lament at the loss of Ken to the fog of Alzheimers in his final years: "He is there but I cannot find him, the man I once knew has disappeared, gone as in death, lost somewhere in the maze of his mind."
In an obituary for The Courier Mail, Legendary Australian rugby commentator Gordon Bray spoke to Ben Glover of Fox Spots of the emotion of seeing Ken Catchpole in his final interview in ''Sometimes the Best Ever'', while Greg Growden's tribute also made mention of the documentary: in this article for ESPN: Ken Catchpole was Australian player most feared by All Blacks.