Richie Benaud OBE – Patron Bradman Foundation 2002 – 2015

10/04/15 Category: Blog, News Posted by:

Benaud

The Bradman Foundation is deeply saddened by the recent passing of its long-serving Patron, Richie Benaud and extends its condolences to his wife Daphne, brother John and wider family.

Richie Benaud was appointed Patron of the Bradman Foundation after former NSW Governor and war hero Sir Roden Cutler VC died in February 2002. On accepting the role, he remarked that it would be a daunting task ‘going into bat’ after such a distinguished Australian.

Benaud was a close friend of Sir Donald Bradman, working with him as Captain of the Australian Cricket Team when Bradman was Chairman of the Australian Cricket Board, most memorably to deliver the scintillating 1960-61 Test series against Frank Worrell’s touring West Indians.

He spoke movingly and with great insight to hundreds of cricketing luminaries at Sir Donald’s Memorial Service held at St Peter’s Cathedral in Adelaide on 27 March 2001.
An active Patron, Benaud visited the museum on several occasions to launch exhibitions including ‘Long Shadows’ in 2006, a photographic exhibition on cricket from the archive of Fairfax Media (and the book of the same name by Mark Ray) together with the permanent exhibition dedicated to World Series Cricket in 2012. His input into that exhibition was particularly important as he guided the exhibition team to ensure that the complex story was presented accurately and dispassionately recalling his role as Kerry Packer’s sports consultant during those tumultuous years. His support and authority over the content helped quell several disparate opinions being expressed at the time.
He would sometimes attend the annual ‘Lou Benaud Cup’ matches held at Bradman Oval and organised by his brother John. Played between the Benaud’s Grade Clubs of Penrith & Parramatta-Blacktown (formerly Central Cumberland), the match is the traditional pre-season opener for its youth players.

Richie at Long Shadows 2007

Every year the Bradman Foundation hosts its annual fundraiser, the Gala Dinner. As Patron, Richie would conscientiously anchor the dedication to the Bradman Honouree(s). His dedication was always regarded as the highlight of the night as he called upon all his considerable broadcasting skills and trademark aplomb to capture the significance of honouring legendary players. The crowd was always captivated, recognising their own good fortune in witnessing a master going about his craft.

Richie also generously worked behind the scenes to support the Foundation sharing his deep knowledge of cricket. In leading the Museum’s Reference Panel, he greatly helped the museum develop its content, guiding and shaping what was presented and, sometimes, how it was presented. For example his input into the Greats of the Game section of the 2010 upgraded displays was critical. He led the definition of appropriate criteria to justify the accolade, urging the panel to recognise and promote the status of the highlighted players as forever changing the game itself.

On 17 November 2009, he recorded a filmed interview with Mike Coward for the Museum as part of the player’s archive. It lasts nearly 2 hours and is one of the most detailed and thought provoking of the 130 filmed to date. Among topics discussed include his recollections of his cricketing father Lou, Bruce Doolan teaching him how to bowl that most challenging of all deliveries the ‘flipper’, his relationship with Don Bradman and his respect for fellow players Bill O’Reilly, Arthur Morris, Neil Harvey, Keith Miller, Alan Davidson, Ray Lindwall, Frank Worrell, Ted Dexter and Ian Chappell.

The Board, Staff and Volunteers at the Foundation will greatly miss Richie’s personable nature and genuine interest in the work of the organisation. His contribution in Bowral will never be forgotten.

Richie  Daphne Long Shadows 2007

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