Page last updated at 11:54 GMT, Thursday, 22 October 2009 12:54 UK

Bust of radical MP Abse unveiled

Bust of Leo Abse
Leo Abse was noted as one of Britain's leading social reformers

A bronze bust of the campaigning politician Leo Abse has been unveiled at the National Museum Cardiff.

The unveiling coincides with the 40th anniversary of the passing of the Divorce Reform Act, one of the late Labour MP's notable achievements.

He sat for Pontypool, later Torfaen, for 29 years and died in August 2008.

The bust is the work of the artist Luke Shepherd, who is Mr Abse's second cousin, and will be put on display in one of the museum's art galleries.

Mr Abse, who also championed gay rights, was described by friends and peers as a "courageous campaigner" and a "passionate Welshman".

He took up the case for the partial decriminalisation of male homosexuality in Britain long before the legal changes of 1967.

A bronze bust of Leo Abse has been unveiled at the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff

The bust was funded by the Cardiff solicitors firm he founded, Leo Abse and Cohen.

"Leo Abse sat for me in 1988 in my Cardiff studio," said Mr Shepherd.

"The first attempt wasn't a big success, but it became clear there was little to commemorate Abse's life.

"Therefore I made it my intention to create a further bronze that would keep the memory of his important political work strong in Wales, for the Welsh people.

"Growing up, I never took much interest in his political activities, despite him being my second cousin. My parents spoke very highly of him, but as a family we didn't see that much of him.

"However, I was lucky to have had this link to enable me to produce this bust which represents one of Wales' finest and most outspoken politicians and most effective law reformer in 20th Century Britain."



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SEE ALSO
Tributes to a political crusader
20 Aug 08 |  Wales
Gay rights champion Leo Abse dies
20 Aug 08 |  Wales

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