Hundreds join sad goodbye for Blake Bailey
HUNDREDS of people crowded into a small chapel at Mt Bassett yesterday to pay tribute to Blake Bailey.
Friends and family farewelled the promising young AFL player in a moving ceremony at Newhaven Funerals' chapel in Mackay.
Grieving parents Tracey and Shaun Bailey had less than seven days to prepare for the funeral after their 17-year-old son died in a single-vehicle rollover last week.
A letter from Mr and Mrs Bailey, who were at the service, was read out on their behalf.
"To our beautiful son Blake, we both knew we brought something special home when you were born," the letter read.
"We watched you crawl, walk, run, stagger and fall.
"The hopes and dreams we had for your future have been taken but the memories are still being made.
"Slowly the pain inside our hearts is being replaced with pride, but will never completely go.
"We can not thank you enough for being in our lives."
Blake was remembered as a keen sportsman with a good sense of humour.
Eastern Swans senior coach and Suns Academy mentor Brad McLaren and AFL Queensland Mackay regional manager David Harding fought back tears as they delivered moving eulogies.
Mr McLaren, who coached Blake for three years, shared some of the funny moments he had with Blake and described Blake's journey to becoming a "really handy footballer".
Members of Blake's football club, Eastern Swans Mackay, wore club colours to the service.
Friends and family wore ribbons of green ribbons, Blake's favourite colour and the colour of his football boots.
On the day the Blake would have been attending his school formal, funeral celebrant Rhonda Hall spoke of the extraordinary and moving reaction to his passing.
Parked cars belonging to family and friends lined both sides of Harbour Rd near the chapel. More than 2000 people "liked" the R.I.P. Blake Bailey Facebook page in the past week.