Statue a fitting tribute to humble legend

St Kilda Football Club teammate Graeme ``Gypsy'' Lee at the official opening of the Darrel Baldock Memorial at Latrobe yesterday.

St Kilda Football Club teammate Graeme ``Gypsy'' Lee at the official opening of the Darrel Baldock Memorial at Latrobe yesterday.

DARREL Baldock was a humble man, but his standing in the community will forever be on a pedestal following the official opening of the Darrel Baldock Memorial yesterday.

The three-year, $400,000 project was officially unveiled yesterday by Mr Baldock's widow, Margaret, former St Kilda Football Club teammate Graeme ``Gypsy'' Lee, and close friend Pat Mackey.

About 1000 VIP guests and the public attended the ceremony, which was testament to Mr Baldock's standing in the community.

The project received both state and federal funding, and relied on corporate and community donations to a memorial fund.

The 2.5-metre high statue is surrounded by interpretive panels that depict all aspects of Mr Baldock's life.

The Darrel Baldock Memorial gates cap off the memorial and provide a new centre access gate to the Latrobe Recreation Ground.

Mr Baldock captained St Kilda Football Club to its only premiership in 1966, was a champion horse breeder and trainer and was a state politician until 1987, when he retired to coach his beloved Saints.

He died  in 2011.

Mrs Baldock said her husband would not have known the reason behind all the fuss, but said she believed he would have been extremely honoured to know he had such standing in the community.

``He never thought much of himself,'' Mrs Baldock said.

``But he would definitely have been humbled.

``I know he'd be saying `why' and that it was all a bit silly,'' she said, laughing.''

Mrs Baldock, who has always played a supporting role to Mr Baldock's life in the limelight, stepped into the spotlight during the memorial yesterday.

Mrs Baldock was supported by the extended Baldock family, with her children and grandchildren, Mr Baldock's brother and sister and Mrs Baldock's family all in attendance at the memorial service.

Mrs Baldock, who doesn't live far from the memorial, said she couldn't believe how well it had all come together.

``Everyone seems to be admiring it, it's all gone really well, but it has been a process,'' Mrs Baldock said.

She said she had seen the statue before the unveiling and said she'd had a bit of a shock.

``I went down to see it with Gypsy and it was bigger than I thought it was going to be,'' she said.

Mrs Baldock said while she was glad it was all over, she could breathe a sigh of relief and have a cup of tea, but she said she was absolutely honoured the memorial was an actuality.

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