TONY Charlton said he wouldn’t break his promise to speak at the Kangaroo Flat Sports Club and delivered a stirring speech in late November – his last sports club address before he passed away yesterday.
The Australian broadcasting legend died in his home aged 83.
Friend John Forbes said Charlton was the most selfless man he had met.
He said Charlton’s appearance at the Bendigo Sportsmen’s Association’s Junior Sports Star of the Year night was typical of the generosity he had shown throughout his life.
“As sick as he was at the time, he came and drove up there himself,” Mitiamo-based Forbes said.
“He told me he’d made me a promise to come and didn’t break his word. It’s a speech I’ll never forget. He gave everything he had to other people. He’s a terrible loss to the whole of Australia.”
Described as one of Australia’s finest sporting commentators, with a career spanning 60 years, Charlton called major sporting events, including the Olympics, the Commonwealth Games, Australian Rules football, tennis, motor racing and golf.
Charlton was inducted to the AFL Hall of Fame in 2011 and was a member of the Order of Australia.
Mr Forbes said in Charlton’s final weeks battling bowel cancer he never wanted others to worry.
“You’d ask him how he was and he never really tells you. He’d ask you how you’re going and turn it around to ask about you. He was just an amazing man.”
At one of the last events he attended, Charlton received applause from The Seekers during their 50th anniversary performance.
Charlton started his career in radio as a broadcaster and commentator in 1949 and worked on television and radio until 1970, for 3AW, 3UZ and 3AK in Melbourne as well as Channel Seven, Channel Nine and the ABC.
Minister for Sport and Recreation and Veterans’ Affairs Hugh Delahunty described Charlton as the doyen of sports commentators.
AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou said Charlton would be remembered as a gentleman whose massive contribution to radio and the early years of football on television had helped build the game’s popularity.