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Wales captains' charity climb carves out special place

Grogg-carver Richard Hughes captures the Wales captains' Kilimanjaro climb
Grogg-carver Richard Hughes captures the Wales captains' Kilimanjaro climb

When 15 former Wales rugby captains set out to conquer Mount Kilimanjaro later this year, their efforts will be captured in the form of a unique sculpture - the smallest 'Groggs' made.

The climb, which will start on 6 September, is to help raise £1m for lung cancer research and is the brainchild of photographer Huw Evans.

Huw's wife, Sue, was diagnosed with non-smoking related lung cancer in 2008 and the Kilimanjaro climb is set to be the 'pinnacle' of his efforts to raise money for research and awareness of the disease.

Waiting for the climbers, once they make it down again, will be the mini-sculpture commemorating their achievement and depicting the adventurers, in two-inch form, pushing each other up a mountainside - with Huw at the top.

Groggs, a 45-year-old institution in Wales, are sculpted caricatures of famous figures - especially of sporting stars.

So it is fitting that the smallest Groggs made will mark the efforts of the intrepid band when they tackle the highest mountain in Africa, all 5,891.8m (19,330ft) of it.

Photographer Huw Evans decided to raise money for cancer research after his wife Sue was diagnosed with lung cancer

It is hoped that the one of a kind Grogg, painstakingly carved by Richard Hughes, will be auctioned off afterwards to add to the funds already raised by the appeal.

Richard, who works from the Grogg Shop in Pontypridd, said: "Huw didn't want to be on the model - when he first had the idea he wanted a ubiquitous figure of a rugby player on top.

"I thought about it for three months and when I saw the list of players taking part in the climb I knew something special needed recognising.

"I had this idea of doing all the players going up the mountain, pushing each other up the hill and Huw on top being held up by Bob Norster."

The group accompanying Huw will be headed by former skippers Gareth Thomas, Colin Charvis, Mark Taylor, Scott Quinnell, Rob Howley, Jonathan Humphreys, Scott Gibbs, Mike Hall, Ieuan Evans, Rob Jones, Paul Thorburn, Bob Norster, Bleddyn Bowen and Eddie Butler, with Wales coach Warren Gatland also climbing.

Like any good team there is always something in reserve, with fellow rugby stars Garin Jenkins - who also makes it onto the Grogg - and Emyr Lewis 'on the bench' if needed.



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