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Moving tributes honour ‘Big Jim’

March 21, 2013 • Local, News,

Jim Stynes passed away a year ago today.

Jim Stynes passed away a year ago today.

Yesterday marked the first anniversary of the death of Irish AFL legend Jim Stynes.

The former Melbourne Demons player and president is being remembered in Ireland and Australia this week.

In Ireland, the Evening Herald reports that photographs commemorating his association with GAA club Ballyboden St Enda’s now hang in its clubhouse.

The AFL released this emotional video tribute to the Irishman.

The Demons also posted a video tribute to the Dubliner on their official website.

“Now he is back in his native Ireland, his spirit shared between two countries, missed and loved by thousands.  A year ago today he left us, but there is no doubt at all that Jim Stynes – memories and stories alike – will live on through the impact he had and continues to have on so many,” the club stated.

The Reach Foundation, which Stynes established in 1994 to help young people achieve their goals, is also pausing to mark the anniversary.

Reach is hosting a movie screening of Dead Poets’ Society at Wesley College on Friday, as a celebration of the Irishman’s “life and legacy”. The film is said to have been a source of inspiration for Stynes in his work with young people.

The foundation held a memorial golf classic for the Irishman earlier this week.

Perhaps one of Australia’s most prominent Irish expats, Stynes moved to Australia in 1984, making his senior AFL debut with the Dees in 1987.

Having given up a promising Gaelic football career to come to Australia (he was a star player with Ballyboden St Enda’s and won an All-Ireland medal with the Dublin minors in 1984), Stynes went on to break all sorts of records over the course of a glittering career.

He holds the record for the most successive Best and Fairest Awards at the Demons (three in a row), but his career-defining moment arrived in 1991 when he became the first overseas player to win the prestigious Brownlow Medal (for Best and Fairest in the AFL).

In Melbourne, a bridge named in his honour is currently under construction.

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