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Last Updated: Monday, 5 November 2007, 17:38 GMT
Stradey to stage Gravell funeral
Ray Gravell playing for the British Lions against South Africa in July 1980
Ray Gravell toured South Africa with the British Lions in 1980
Thousands of people are backing an online campaign to rename a rugby cup for Ray Gravell ahead of his funeral at his beloved Stradey Park in Llanelli.

A public service will be held at the ground for the former Wales and Lions centre at 1300 GMT on 15 November.

It will be followed by a private ceremony at Llanelli Crematorium.

Confirmation of the details came amid growing clamour for the Welsh Rugby Union to rename the Prince William Cup the Cwpan Ray Gravell Cup.

A spokesman for his family said a large crowd was expected at the service following many thousands of messages since his death while on holiday in Spain last week.

"Ray's family are fully behind it, it will be a chance for fans and friends to say a final farewell," he said.

Meanwhile, more than 1,000 have joined a group on the social networking website Facebook urging the WRU to rename the Prince William Cup, which Wales and South Africa will contest in Cardiff on 24 November.

More than 1,000 other people have also signed two online petitions.

The game is a celebration of 100 years of fixtures between Wales and the World Cup winners.

Facebook website
Cwpan Ray Gravell Cup is the perfect tribute to Grav
Facebook contributor

The Millennium Stadium game will be Wales's first international since Gravell died of a suspected heart attack at the age of 56 while on a family holiday in Spain last week.

The WRU said it would talk with Gravell's family and the Llanelli Scarlets about a long-term tribute to him but insisted he will be honoured at the inaugural Prince William Cup match.

But the online campaigners believe that renaming the cup would be a fitting honour for the former Llanelli and Wales centre, who was on the British Lions tour of South Africa in 1980.

One member of the Facebook group wrote how he had "the pleasure of spending time with Grav," who was "a really nice guy and above all top Welshman".

Another member said: "Many people in Wales (and throughout the world) feel that the re-naming of the Prince William Cup (which will be the title for all future games between Wales and South Africa - including the one later this month) to Cwpan Ray Gravell Cup is the perfect tribute to Grav."

Private cremation

More than 600 people have signed one online petition and more than 400 have added their names to another.

In a statement, the WRU said: "Ray Gravell was a huge and important figure for Wales. His contributions, not only for Welsh rugby, but to many aspects of Welsh life were outstanding and meaningful.

"It is vital that his memory is honoured properly and decisions on that will be taken in conjunction with his family, the Llanelli Scarlets and Ray's employers.

"Of course one aspect of that is the detail of how we honour that memory at the inaugural Prince William Cup on 24 November. We will be paying special tribute to Ray on the day of that match."

Gravell won 23 caps for his country, and after rugby he combined successful careers as a broadcaster and actor.

He was also a member of the Gorsedd of Bards, and carried the ceremonial sword at the National Eisteddfod.





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