Page last updated at 11:07 GMT, Sunday, 8 November 2009

Stadium honours late rugby star

Ray Gravell playing for the British Lions in South Africa in 1980
Gravell playing for the British Lions in South Africa in 1980

A permanent tribute to Wales' late rugby player and broadcaster Ray Gravell has been unveiled at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium.

His widow Mari and daughters Manon and Gwenan were at the stadium when the new Ray Gravell Room was formally opened.

The press conference suite has been made into a memorial to the former Scarlet who died in 2007 aged 56.

WRU president Dennis Gethin said they were "proud to be able to honour a man who gave so much to Wales".

"He epitomised the true meaning of the word, ambassador, and championed the story of Wales, its culture, its heritage and its sporting traditions wherever he went.

"His success was based on his humanity and the standards of respect and honour he epitomised throughout his life and within all his endeavours.

He was passionate about his support for rugby and he was extremely proud of the links he maintained with the sport through his work as a broadcaster
Mari Gravell

Mr Gethin added: "His memory deserves special recognition because he earned himself an important place in the social history of modern Wales as a true voice of the nation."

Gravell won 23 Welsh caps and played in four British and Irish Lions tests during a playing career in which he was also the youngest player in the Llanelli team which famously defeated the All Blacks, 9-3, in 1972.

After retiring from the game in 1985 he became a broadcaster, working mainly in sport.

He also carved out a career as an actor in films such as Rebecca's Daughter which starred Peter O'Toole and Damage with Jeremy Irons.

Thousands of visitors each year to the Millennium Stadium will visit the Ray Gravell Room when on official guided tours.

Wonderful rugby moments

The room contains 14 photos showing Gravell's life as a player and as a broadcaster.

Mari Gravell said they family was "proud and delighted that the Welsh Rugby Union is honouring Ray in this way".

"He was passionate about his support for rugby and he was extremely proud of the links he maintained with the sport through his work as a broadcaster.

"It is lovely to think that Ray's memory will live on in this formal way within the stadium where he spent so much of his working life and enjoyed being part of so many wonderful rugby moments," she added.

WRU chairman David Pickering said: "So many people share pleasant and positive memories of Ray and I think much of that is because he was such a genuine human being who possessed all the qualities which go to make a special person.

"He made his mark on sport in Wales, on the world of broadcasting and he certainly won over and impressed whoever he met around the world."



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SEE ALSO
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Stars out for Grav charity bash
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Grav named top Welsh idol in poll
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Grav family's 'heartfelt' thanks
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Thousands bid farewell to 'Grav'
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A farewell fit for a Welsh legend
15 Nov 07 |  South West Wales
Wales rugby legend Gravell dies
01 Nov 07 |  Welsh
In Pictures: Ray Gravell
01 Nov 07 |  In Pictures

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