k - by world-renowned sculptor David Williams-Ellis -Â will be unveiled by Scarlets legend Delme Thomas, one of Grav's friends and heroes. Thomas captained the team in their historic win over the All Blacks in 1972 when Grav was the team's youngest member.The unveiling ceremony will take place before the opening game of the 2009-10 campaign when the ScarletsÂ meet Leinster on Saturday, September 5. There'sÂ an open invitation to the public and details of the ceremony will be released soon.Grav's wife Mari said she and their daughters Manon and Gwenan are proud that the statueÂ had beenÂ commissioned to honourÂ him at Parc y Scarlets.She said: "He was a Scarlet through and through and I can't think of a more fitting tribute. He was a proud Scarlet and the club was so close to his heart. I know he would have been thrilled and overwhelmed by it all."The artwork, depictingÂ the playerÂ in his trademark beard and swashbuckling style, will stand on a plinth honed from stone from the mountain 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 being transported from the mountain to be prepared for the mounting of the statue. When completed the statue will weigh more thanÂ 10 tons.Kidwelly's deputyÂ 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 Scarlets sponsors WRW, a member of the commissioning panel and one of Ray's closest friends,Â said he was to the town council -Â in particular Mayor Cllr Tegwen Burns and deputy Mayor Cllr Burke-Lloyd -Â 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 his sculpture will stand on will be a genuine rock from Mynydd y Garreg."TheÂ plinth is being prepared by stonemason Anthony Kleinberg at his Abbey Masonry premises in Cross Hands.Llanelli Association president Derek Quinnell said: "This is a fitting tribute to a great Scarlet and hero of West Wales.Â 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.Â With the new sculpture standing proudly outside Parc y Scarlets for all to see, Ray's memory will live on for generations."The bronze statue has been created by Mr Williams-Ellis, 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 Gravell died suddenly while on holiday with his family on October 31, 2007. His death provoked a 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 Mynydd y Garreg to Stradey and then on to Llanelli Crematorium.
Grav played 485 games for the Scarlets, scoring 120 tries and captaining the side from 1980 to 1982. He was president of the club for several years until his death. He won 23 caps for Wales and played in two Grand Slam winning sides. He toured with the British Lions to South Africa in 1980 and played in all four Tests.
After retiring from rugby in 1982 Grav became a respected broadcaster and actor, appearing in films alongside names such as Peter O'Toole in Rebecca's Daughters and Jeremy Irons in Damage.
He was a member of the Gorsedd and was Grand Sword Bearer, a role has now taken by former Scarlet and current Wales forwards coach Robin McBryde, who created history at Grav's funeral by carrying the sword in front of the coffin. It was the first time in the Eisteddfod's history that the sword had been allowed to be used outside the Gorsedd.
David is a celebrated portrait artist working primarily in clay from life to create casts in bronze, drawing on classical tradition but giving the sculpture his own contemporary feel. One of his key philosophies is to create energy, movement and sensitivity in his pieces.
As he describes: "I want my sculptures to live and breathe - they need to be powerful and moving and have an energy and movement about them of their very own.
"For me a really good piece of art is creating something that you want to enjoy and go back to - you learn or see something new each time you revisit it. It's very much like what my great uncle did in Portmeirion - every time I visit I find something new to see or experience."
Talking about the commission to depict Ray Gravell, David said: "I am absolutely thrilled and feel privileged to have been selected to undertake this sculpture. For me this is very personal as I'm a passionate rugby supporter and very proud of my Welsh roots. Creating Ray Gravell's sculpture has been a prestigious piece of work to undertake and a great pleasure to complete."
David operates from studios in North Wales, London and Cumbria. His website contains some stunning images of some of his previous commissions - www.dwe.com.
Photo The stone donated by the people of Mynydd y Garreg to form the base of the Parc y Scarlets Grav sculpture.