Friday, November 16, 2007 11:08:00 AM
He was a good, if not great, player. He played during Wales’s last Golden Era, was in the Llanelli team that beat the New Zealand All Blacks in 1972 (the only club side ever to do so), and later he became President of Llanelli RFC.
His funeral took place yesterday. There was not a church in Wales big enough to hold the congregation. So they held it at Llanelli’s home ground, Stradey Park.
Ten thousand people came to pay their respects. Three television channels covered the funeral live. BBC Radio 4’s Today programme dedicated ‘Thought for the Day’ to him this morning.
All this for a retired sportsman? Gravs was much more; he was a proud, passionate Welshman, commentating for S4C after he retired from the game, using his natural friendliness and ebullience to win hearts and minds all over the country.
He became a national icon. You can’t manufacture that. He was a genuinely nice man who finished first. So it can be done.
Close readers of ‘The Encyclopaedia of Fonts’ will have noticed that the author’s bio finishes with “He has spent six months of his life at the Frankfurt Book Fair, and to his eternal regret has never scored a try for Llanelli or Wales.”