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Shane Warne’s ex-wife Simone Callahan and three children are on their way to the Melbourne Cricket Ground ahead of the cricket legend’s state memorial service tonight.
Close friends and family flocked to Callahan’s Melbourne home on Wednesday afternoon ahead of the public celebration of the spin-bowler’s life, which is set to host more than 50,000 fans, ex-teammates and celebrities.
Warne’s children – Brooke, 24, Jackson, 22 and Summer, 20 – each emerged dressed in black and jumped into a large coach waiting outside the family house.
Jackson was the spitting image of his father as he carried a slab of lemon lime vodka cruisers into the bus for funeral guests.
Simone, wearing a black pant suit and pillbox hat, followed behind shortly afterwards, flanked her mother and dozens of friends.
Several members of the Warne crew flashed St Kilda scarves, the beloved AFL team of the cricket legend.
Prominent Aussies are already gathering at the MCG, with Molly Meldrum and Mick Gatto among the big names to make an early entrance.
Jackson Warne was the spitting image of his father as he carried a slab of Vodka Cruisers into the family home on Wednesday afternoon ahead of his father’s state memorial service at the MCG
Shane Warne’s ex-wife Simone Callahan and children are pictured outside the family’s Melbourne home as they prepare to head to the MCG for the cricket legend’s state memorial service
Brooke Warne, 24, was the first to emerge from the home and board a large black coach, headed straight for the stadium
Jackson Warne, 22, casts a spitting image of his famous father as he heads to the MCG on Wednesday afternoon
The Warne family walk to a large coach waiting outside their home ahead of the emotional service at the G
Jackson was spotted outside the family’s Melbourne home earlier in the afternoon with vodka cruisers and -196 Suntori lemon and vodka mixers ahead of the 7pm service.
The 22-year-old was dressed in ACB cricket shorts from the early 2000s, possibly belonging to his late father.
Jackson said there was ‘no better place in the whole world’ to say goodbye to his father than the place where the King of Spin took his 700th test wicket.
‘It’s very special for a lot of us, especially our family,’ he said.
‘We’ve been lucky enough to come here (to the MCG) our whole lives and watch him play and put lots of hard work in on this very ground.
‘Dad always loved a crowd, putting on a performance … I think, sad day as it is, with more people here it won’t be as sad.’
His mother Simone Callahan also made an appearance on Wednesday afternoon, parading the family’s Insta-famous dog, Mason, in front of the cameras as she took out the bins.
Close friends and family of the Warnes leave the family home dressed in black with St Kilda scarves ahead of the memorial
Simone leaves her home on Wednesday afternoon as she heads to the G for her ex-husband’s state service
His children – Brooke, 24, Jackson, 22 and Summer, 20 all emerged dressed in black and loaded into a large coach waiting outside the family house
Kellie Carter-Bell had a portrait of Warne tattooed on her leg last week. ‘I suffered 23 years of domestic violence and Shane Warne taught me to live myself again,’ she told Daily Mail Australia.
Kellie Carter-Bell had a portrait of Warne tattooed on her leg last week.
Standing beside Warne’s statue, the mother of five said Warne had given her strength to leave an abusive relationship.
‘I suffered 23 years of domestic violence and Shane Warne taught me to live myself again,’ she told Daily Mail Australia.
She met the cricketer 17 years ago in a cafe in leafy Kew, when Warne provided her some life changing advice.
‘I had a chat with him and we were friends ever since,’ Ms Carter-Bell said.
‘The charisma of the man. The intelligence and not just to do with cricket.’
Melbourne’s pubs began firing up while the sun was still high in tribute to Warne. Iconic pub Young & Jackson was brimming with Warne fans in the general bar from lunchtime.
Many would not make it the short walk along the Yarra River to the MCG to watch the memorial in person.
‘We’ll be having a beer for the great man right here,’ one punter told Daily Mail Australia.
Shane Warne’s son Jackson arrived back to the family home with slabs of pre-mixed drinks ahead of his father’s state memorial service
Jackson was spotted outside the family’s Melbourne home on Wednesday afternoon with Vodka Cruisers and -196 Hard Lemon and Vodka mixers ahead of the 7pm service
Up to 100,000 people will attend the celebration of the cricket legend at the MCG on Wednesday night which will feature former teammates, celebrities and musical performances
Entering the MCG, AFL great Gary Lyon said the atmosphere entering the ground had a completely different feeling.
‘Given what we’ve been through for two years, of course we’d much rather be doing it under different circumstances, but if this was happening a year ago we wouldn’t of had the opportunity. So it’s great and people are here for the right reasons,’ he said.
Lyon said it was fitting the memorial was held under the freshly named Shane Warne stand.
‘It’s just another standing ovation for Warney,’ Lyon said.
Tens of thousands of Shane Warne fans are streaming into the MCG ahead of the service
The MCG is preparing for matchday-like scenes as a full crowd heads in for the state memorial service on Wednesday afternoon
Jackson Warne climbs into a coach with ‘RIP Shane Warne’ emblazoned on the side as the family head to the MCG
Warne’s close friend Sam Newman pictured at the MCG as he prepares to say a final goodbye to the King of Spin
Mick Gatto arrives at the MCG on Wednesday afternoon ahead of the state memorial service
A stone’s throw away, at popular MCG meeting point under Flinders Street Station, Clocks was offering $5 beers to Warney fans.
Further up Flinders Street, closer to the hallowed ground where Warne will be honoured, the Duke of Wellington was equally brimming with those sharing a beer and yarn about the great man.
Dressed in a $620 Nicola Finetti dress, Versace shoes and a Bulgari handbag, reality star Arabella Del Busso was spotted entering the pub for drinks honouring Warne.
‘He was a good friend of mine,’ she told Daily Mail Australia.
‘I knew him for at least six years. We met through the boxing world, Jeff Fenech and those boys. He was a beautiful man.’
Across the road, outside the MCG, crowds had gathered outside the members section in anticipation of the gates opening.
Streams of people continue to flow into the ground hours before the celebration is expected to commence.
Outside the MCG, crowds had gathered outside the members section in anticipation of the gates opening.
Fans leave Warne’s favourite beer and foods on his statue outside the MCG ahead of the state memorial service for the cricket legend
It’s expected Warne’s three children will sit in the newly-named 45,000-seat Shane Warne Stand – replacing the Great Southern Stand.
Jackson told Jam TV – owned by family friend Eddie McGuire – the MCG is the perfect place to farewell his father because he had so many great moments on the ground.
‘I think there’s no other better place in the whole world for Melburnians, Victorians, Australians and people from around the world that loved him as a cricketer and a mate – to come and say goodbye,’ he said.
‘He’s got a statue out the front, and to have a grandstand named after him now is just unbelievable.
‘As sad as it is for all of us, to come and sit down at this ground for the rest of our lives and be able to say we’re sitting in Dad’s stand forever is pretty special, and I couldn’t think of a better place around the world to have a send-off for him because this is what he deserves.
‘I think Dad always loved a crowd, he always loved putting on a performance.’
Simone Callahan looked heartbroken on Wednesday morning as she stepped out in Melbourne to run some errands
Warne’s family (left to right: Brooke, Jackson, Simone Callahan, and Summer) visited the MCG’s statue of Warne earlier this month. Warne’s memorial will be held there on Wednesday night at 7pm following the legend’s death at age 52 in Thailand on March 4
Eddie McGuire, who will MC the event as he did Warne’s private funeral, confirmed his immediately family will break their public silence at the event on Wednesday night.
‘The family and children haven’t spoken in public, they will tonight. The outpouring of emotion is going to be quite significant,’ he said.
‘Chris Martin has written a piece called the Eulogy, then there’s Elton and Ed Sheeran. Let’s not kid ourselves, this was the world champion of scallywag.
‘Somebody described it as Glastonbury meets the biggest sports night ever. Warnie sprinkled his gold dust everywhere.’
Don Bradman’s granddaughter Greta Bradman has been confirmed as singing the national anthem as the families of Australia’s two greatest ever players come together.
Eddie McGuire, who will MC the event as he did Warne’s private funeral, confirmed his immediately family will break their public silence at the event on Wednesday night
McGuire said the event would be Australia’s biggest broadcast event with star-studded tributes but would remain true to Warne’s character.
‘He was somebody who gave all of himself in so many ways … he was a scallywag,’ McGuire told reporters on Tuesday.
‘There’ll be tears tomorrow night, there’ll be a lot of laughs as well, and a lot of reminiscing, and that’s what’s going to make this a special night.
Australian test captain Pat Cummins read an emotional poem for his ‘idol’ on Wednesday morning, sharing the words written by journalist Adam Burnett.
‘He was just a bloke – extraordinary – but fallible and flawed,’ Cummins read.
‘It meant he felt like one of us, made him all the more adored
‘Which is why he’s left us grappling, left the cricket world defeated,
‘From Launceston to the Long Room, we’ve all been left depleted
‘But flip that thought and think instead how enriched we are by Warne,
‘Let’s salute a pure entertainer – the greatest bowler ever born.’
McGuire said Warne’s three children Brooke, 24, Jackson and Summer Warne, 20, as well as his father Keith Warne, would all speak his service
‘Elton John, Chris Martin, Robbie Williams, and Ed Sheeran will be singing dedicated songs to Shane Warne in his memory.
‘I mean, this is something when you look at it from a concert point of view, that is almost unprecedented here in Australia.’
McGuire said Warne’s three children Brooke, 24, Jackson and Summer Warne, 20, as well as his father Keith Warne, would all speak his service.
On Tuesday an additional 15,000 tickets were released for the event, adding to the already 50,000 reserved seats.
All major free-to-air channels and Foxtel will broadcast the memorial across Australia from 7pm.
India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and the United Kingdom will receive a livestream of the event.
The MCG gates are set to open at 5.30pm and guests must be seated by 6.45pm for a 7pm start.
It will be an alcohol-free event.