QLD Gets Chance To Say Goodbye To Big Artie At Memorial Service
A public memorial service will be held for Arthur Beetson at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday, 18 December at midday.
Premier Anna Bligh made the announcement today with Beetson family spokesperson Brad Beetson - Arthur's eldest son - and said the service would provide Queenslanders an opportunity to say goodbye to Big Artie.
"Arthur Beetson was an iconic Queenslander," Ms Bligh said.
"Not only was Big Artie a league legend, he was a pioneer for Indigenous athletes and his loss has been felt across the country.
"We are very pleased the Beetson family accepted our offer of a public memorial - there are many people that want to say an appropriate goodbye to this great man, and this will be their opportunity to do just that," she said.
Brad Beetson spoke on behalf of the Beetson family:
"The family would like to thank everybody for their support and well wishes at this difficult time.
"We appreciate everyone's willingness to be involved and participate in the remembrance of our beloved Father, Brother, Grandfather, Uncle and friend.
"The family will be conducting a private funeral service for family and close friends within the next week and we would ask that people and the media respect the family's privacy.
"Once again the family would like to thank everyone for their support, condolences and contributions over the last 48 hours," he said.
More information on the public memorial service will be released in coming days.
The Premier also announced that the league legend would be immortalised with a bronze statue at Suncorp Stadium.
The Queensland Government and Channel 9 will provide an equal contribution for the sculpture, with additional funds from the FOGS (Former Origin Greats) organisation.
"We will pay fitting tribute to this great Queenslander by immortalizing his memory at Suncorp Stadium.
"This bronze likeness of Artie Beetson will be positioned at the northern plaza and provide future generations of sports fans with a meeting place to pay tribute to his amazing career both on and off the field.
"Artie's statue will be at home in the company of fellow league legends "The King" Wally Lewis and the soon to be installed Darren Lockyer statues.
"The Beetson family will be involved in selecting an image that symbolises Mr Beetson's on-field prowess," she said.
Wally Lewis, representing the Nine Network, said rugby league has lost one of its true greats. He was inspirational on and off the field, the game and especially Origin would not have been the same without Artie.
"He set a benchmark on the field as the best off-loader in his position.
"As a coach, he sent every player on to the field with the belief they could win.
"As an Indigenous Australian he was inspirational and tireless in making sure that other Indigenous people had the best opportunities available," Wally Lewis said.
"I am really proud to be a part of the Nine Network who jumped in so readily with the Queensland Government to recognise this true sporting legend. It will be an honour to share the Suncorp Stadium forecourt with him."
Premier and Minister for Reconstruction
The Honourable Anna Bligh
Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
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