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Rugby stars, friends and family pay tribute to Ray Gravell in new book

Welsh rugby’s 1970s legend Ray Gravell was undoubtedly one of Wales and rugby union’s greatest ever characters, and this collection of anecdotes about Grav from family, friends and colleagues showcases his endless kindness, mischievous sense of humour and legendary humanity. Grav - The Legend of Ray Gravell: Stories from friends and family, which is edited by Rhys Meirion, shows us that over a decade after his death, he is just as much of a cult hero as ever.

Editor Rhys Meirion says in his Foreword:

“Without question, one of Wales’ greatest ever characters now and for ever more was the enigma from Mynydd-y-Garreg, Ray Gravell. He was a man that touched the lives of all who had the privilege of meeting him, with his innocent excitement and genuine interest making everyone in his presence feel special.”

“Even though we lost Ray over ten years ago, I have noticed how he is still a topic of conversation when I meet and chat with people over the length and breadth of Wales. As I spoke to people, it became clear that there were hundreds of stories about Grav, and the majority hadn’t been recorded anywhere.”

Ray Gravell played 485 times for Llanelli RFC and was a member of two Grand Slam-winning Wales sides. After retiring from professional rugby he became a rugby commentator. He crossed divides, bringing people together and touching the hearts of all who were privileged enough to meet him. He was held in such high regard that 10,000 mourners attended his funeral in Stradey Park in 2007.

Included are stories about him as a player for Llanelli, Wales and the British Lions by rugby legends such as Gareth Edwards, Phil Bennett, Gerald Davies and Clive Rowlands. There are also loving memories of him by friends and co-workers including Sarra Elgan, Keith Davies, Mansel Thomas, Gareth Charles, Carolyn Hitt and Roy Noble. Contributions by his family Mari, Gwenan and Manon are also included, and show him as a proud husband and father.

Lefi Gruffudd from Y Lolfa said: “There are some well-known stories in the book, such as the one about him interrupting the Grandstand broadcast during an international game, but the vast majority are unfamiliar and show many sides to his character, including his kindness and his legendary humour.”