UN Name Conservation Grant after the late Shane Warne
Shane Warne’s legacy will live on beyond his cricketing achievements, with his animal conservation work for the United Nations set to be honored with a new grant.
At a state memorial service in Melbourne on Wednesday, Andrea Egan of the United Nations Development Program revealed that Warne joined her wildlife fund, Lion’s Share, in 2021.
Ms Egan announced the Shane Warne Conservation Grant to commemorate Spin King’s work to protect wildlife and catalyze more action.
“His legacy stretches beyond the hearts of people here today,” she told the crowd at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
“It lives on in the people of Sri Lanka who promote sea turtle conservation, in an all-female anti-poaching unit in South Africa and in the team at Byron Bay Hospital, who were supported following bush fires.
“All of this work and more Shane has made possible. We are eternally grateful for his championship and will work to honor his memory in a way that does justice to the person he was.”
Warne had a history of charitable and community work, including through his disbanded foundation, but his ties to wildlife conservation were previously unknown.
The cricketing legend, who died in Thailand of a suspected heart attack on March 4, was remembered during Wednesday night’s farewell as a lovable larrikin and devoted father.
His father Keith Warne paid tribute and described his son’s death as the “darkest day in our family’s life”.
Warne’s children, Jackson, Summer and Brooke, unveiled the renamed Great Southern Stand as the Shane Warne Stand after each gave moving speeches.
Friend and former St Kilda footballer Aaron Hamill gave a glimpse into Warne’s larrikin nature, when the cricketer was his best man and leaned in for a hug just before the nuptials.
“He said ‘man, it’s not too late’ and, Shane being Shane, he pulled out two passports. He managed to get his hands on my passport like a gag,” Hamill said.
Elton John, Chris Martin, Robbie Williams and Ed Sheeran were among those who lent their superstar talents with pre-recorded musical performances, while Australian actors Hugh Jackman and Eric Bana also paid virtual tributes.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese attended.
Others at the MCG, the site of Warne’s hat-trick in 1994 and 700th Test wicket in 2006, included former Australia captain Allan Border, former England skipper Nasser Hussain and West Indian great Brian Lara.
Warne’s appeal to everyone was on full display off the ground as his statue was once again adorned with beer cans and baked beans – two of his other great loves.