A lifesize bronze sculpture to commemorate Scarlets legend Ray Gravell will be unveiled before the opening game of the season at Parc y Scarlets.
The bronze sculpture by David Williams-Ellis, one of the world's foremost sculptors, will stand guard outside the Castell Howell main south stand immediately in front of the museum and main reception at the new £23million stadium.
The magnificent bronze will be unveiled by another Scarlets legend and one of Ray's friends and heroes, Delme Thomas who captained the team in the historic win over the All Blacks in 1972, of which Ray was the youngest member of the team.
The unveiling ceremony will take place before the opening game of the new Magners League season between the Scarlets and Leinster on Saturday, September 5, with an open invitation to the public. Details of the ceremony will be released in due course.
Ray's wife Mari said she and their daughters Manon and Gwenan are very proud that the statue was commissioned to honour Ray at Parc y Scarlets.
"He was a Scarlet through and through and I can't think of a more fitting tribute. He was such a proud Scarlet and the club was so close to his heart. I know he would have been thrilled and overwhelmed by it all, " Mari added.
Poignantly the bronze sculpture, depicting Ray in his trademark beard and swashbuckling style of running, will stand on a stone plinth honed from the mountain that he loved and lived on for the whole of his life.
The huge stone has been donated by the people of Mynydd y Garreg with the support of Kidwelly Town Council and is now in the process of being transported from the mountain to be prepared for the mounting of the statue. When completed the statue will weigh more than ten tons.
Kidwelly's deputy mayor, Cllr Fran Burke Burke-Lloyd, said: " Ray was so proud to be a son of Mynydd y Garreg and because of him the village was known throughout the world. He was a great ambassador for the village and for Kidwelly. It is a fitting tribute to Ray from the people of the area."
Robert Williams, of WRW, a member of the commissioning panel and one of Ray's closest friends, said he was extremely grateful to Kidwelly Town Council, in particular the Mayor Cllr Tegwen Burns and deputy Mayor Cllr Fran Burke-Lloyd for their help and support.
He said: "Ray's passions in life were his family, his mountain, and the Scarlets and I am absolutely delighted that the plinth that his sculpture will stand on will be a genuine rock from Mynydd y Garreg."
Once the stone has been removed it will be taken drown from the mountain and prepared by stonemason Anthony Kleinberg at his Abbey Masonry premises in Cross Hands before moving onto its final destination with the sculpture at Parc y Scarlets.
President of the Llanelli Association Derek Quinnell said: This is a fitting tribute to a great Scarlet and hero of West Wales. He would be so proud of this tribute at the region's new home and it is right that his memory should be honoured in such a way. With the new sculpture standing proud outside Parc y Scarlets for all to see, Ray's memory will live on for generations."
The bronze statue has been created by David Williams-Ellis, generally regarded as one of the world's foremost figurative sculptors and a great nephew of Sir Clough Williams-Ellis, creator of the Italianate village in Portmeirion.
Ray died suddenly while on holiday with his family on October 31, 2007, and his death provoked a huge wave of emotion throughout Wales and the rugby world.
His public funeral at Stradey Park was attended by 8,000 mourners while thousands more lined the streets from his beloved village of Mynydd y Garreg to Stradey and then on to Llanelli Crematorium.
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