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Last Updated: Saturday, 3 November 2007, 14:40 GMT
Gravell trust fund to be launched
Ray Gravell

A trust fund is to be set up in memory of rugby player and broadcaster Ray Gravell, his family have said.

The fund will go to help charities and causes close to the heart of the former Wales, Llanelli, and British Lions centre, they said in a statement.

They have been overwhelmed by floral tributes to "Grav" who died while on holiday in Spain on Wednesday.

His wife Mari and young daughters Manon and Gwenan said full details about the fund would be announced next week.

Their statement, issued on Saturday, said: "In response to the overwhelming number of floral tributes which are being received by Ray's family it has been decided to set up a Ray Gravell Memorial Trust in lieu of flowers - with all monies being distributed to charities and other causes which were close to Ray's heart.

"The family is extremely grateful and appreciative of the tremendous warmth and response of people and feel that a trust fund in Ray's name would be what he wanted."

Ray Gravell playing for the British Lions against South Africa in July 1980
Gravell toured South Africa with the Lions in 1980

Hundreds of tributes flooded in from people around the world after Gravell's death from a suspected heart attack.

He won 23 caps for his country during Welsh rugby's 1970s hey day and made the 1980 Lions tour to South Africa, playing in all four Tests.

Gravell, who had part of his leg amputated earlier this year after complications due to diabetes, was honoured not only for his role as a rugby player, but also for his later careers as broadcaster and actor.

He was also a member of the national eisteddfod's Gorsedd of the Bards and carried the ceremonial sword.

First Minister Rhodri Morgan described his death as a "body blow" and WRU chief executive Roger Lewis said it had left a void.

On Friday night the Llanelli Scarlets displayed their own tribute to the late president of the club when they wore shirts with "Grav" in gold lettering for their 59-19 win over Leeds.

Scarlets fans show their affection with a poster at the Leeds game
Scarlets fans show their affection with a poster at the Leeds game

The players wore black armbands and there was also a minute's applause for Gravell before kick-off at Stradey Park.

An empty seat was also left in a photograph of former Llanelli players - in which Gravell was due to have been included - taken before the Scarlets match.

Swansea City players also paid tribute before their game against Gillingham at the Liberty stadium on Friday, and Cardiff Blues were wearing red armbands in their match at Leicester on Saturday

Elsewhere, flags have been flown at half mast in Carmarthenshire where Gravell lived and even had a street named after him in the village of Mynyddygarreg.

Books of condolences have also been opened for people to sign at Carmarthenshire County Hall, at Stradey Park and at BBC Wales in Llandaff, Cardiff where Gravell worked as a broadcaster.

His family earlier said the "love and esteem" in which Gravell was held was a "great comfort" to them, but also appealed for time to grieve and to come to term with what has happened.

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