Mourners at Lady (Mary) Fairfax’s funeral will hear eulogies about her philanthropy

Belle of the ball: Lady (Mary) Fairfax.

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They were two of the great passions of Lady (Mary) Fairfax’s extraordinary 95-year-life: philanthropy and opera.

Family and friends will gather for her funeral on Friday morning at the historic St Mark’s Anglican Church in Darling Point, where her eldest sons Garth Symonds and Warwick Fairfax will deliver eulogies.

Lady Mary Fairfax dies aged 95

Australian philanthropist and socialite Lady Fairfax has died peacefully at her family home ‘Fairwater’ in Point Piper.

And one of the most unlikely of people, Tim Palmer, 22, will share his memories of the woman who was instrumental in allowing him the gift of hearing.

Lady Fairfax was one of the greatest financial supporters of research into hearing loss, including the Children’s Cochlear Implant Centre, now the SCIC Cochlear Implant Program, a service of Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children.

Lady Fairfax, together with businesswoman Jenny Tay, formed the East West Foundation, which supported the Metropolitan Opera scholarship awards and the Children’s Cochlear Implant Centre.

The signature event of the foundation was the East West Ball held at Lady Fairfax’s home, Fairwater, the proceeds benefiting children, such as Mr Palmer, who was diagnosed with profound deafness at six weeks of age.

Mr Palmer received a cochlear implant in 1996, at the age of two. At 13, he received his second cochlear implant.

Today, he coaches young soccer players, is a talented public speaker, writes for online publications about football, manages and writes his own blog, and achieved an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) in the 90s.

Also paying tribute will be soprano Amelia Farrugia, who will be singing at the funeral.

She graduated from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and went on to win every major international singing competition in Australia, earning her the title of NSW Young Achiever of the Year (1996) and enabling her to study at the Juilliard School in NY and with Vera Rozsa in London and with Janine Reiss in Paris.

Long-time friend of Lady Fairfax and Sydney business identity Charles Curran is also due to deliver a eulogy.

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