Willoughby turns out in force to celebrate the life of beloved Mayor
Tuesday 28 January: More than 1,000 community members, residents and Willoughby Council staff packed Our Lady of Dolours Church, Chatswood and spilled onto the streets to say goodbye to the late, great Willoughby Mayor, Pat Reilly.
Guests included Mayor Reilly’s wife and daughter; former Prime Minister of Australia, The Honourable Bob Hawke AC GCL; Federal and State MPs, past and present Mayors and Councillors of northern Sydney councils and Willoughby City Council, as well as more than 1000 people from the Willoughby community and council staff.
In tribute to the Mayor’s vibrant personality, the church service was followed by the Pat Reilly Tribute at The Concourse Concert Hall.
Emceed by Nicholas Milton, the concert featured a range of entertainment and music from Willoughby Symphony Orchestra and Choir, Willoughby Band, as well as special guest performers including David Campbell. There were also toasts from the Mayor’s oldest and best friends.
Guests, including Brian L. Davies Esq LVO on behalf of The Governor of NSW, Her Excellency Professor The Honourable Marie Bashir AC CVO, were asked to wear their own ‘bling’ in honour of the Mayor, who was always seen wearing his mayoral chains.
The bling-themed concert was broadcast simultaneously to the outdoor Urban Screen on The Concourse.
“He was prepared to stand up and throw his hat in the ring. To participate. Pat Reilly didn’t hide in the grandstands – his place was down in the arena,” said Australian author, and Mayor Reilly’s nephew, Matthew Reilly in his Eulogy.
“The Concourse… will be Pat’s legacy. It’s the sparkling jewel in the crown that is Willoughby. There is nothing else like it in Greater Sydney. It took vision to start it and uncompromising vision to deliver it. Pat has left us but The Concourse remains and it will remain his gift to the people of Willoughby for a long, long time to come,” Matthew Reilly said.
The funeral’s principal celebrant was Father Paul Finucane from our Lady of Dolours, with co-celebrants Bishop David Walker and Father Rex Curry. The funeral included words of remembrance from Raymond Reilly, Louise Collins, John Maio, Nick Tobin and John Owen, and a Eulogy by Matthew Reilly.