Ken Jones appeal nears £15,000 for Blaenavon statue after a year of fundraising
10:00am Monday 3rd September 2012 in News
IT HAS been a year since the Free Press launched its Ken Jones campaign and followed the efforts of local people to erect a statue of the former Olympic athletic and Welsh rugby player Ken Jones.
Chairman of the Ken Jones Appeal Fund Stuart Evans said: "It is a year since The Free Press joined forces with the Ken Jones Memorial Appeal Fund and their support has been instrumental in raising awareness and securing funding that is fast approaching the £15,000 mark. "I would like to pay tribute to the hard work that the appeal committee are doing to raise funds for one of our most famous sons.
"With the help of Torfaen officers we intend to secure grant funding, alongside this we are planning a summer ball, and other social events that will keep us busy for the next year.
"I feel confident that with continued support we will achieve our goal to install a lasting tribute to Ken so that future generations can understand what this great man achieved."
To donate to the appeal, cheques need to be made out to 'Ken Jones Memorial Fund' and posted to the care of Lewis Freeman at 52 Thornhill Close, Upper Cwmbran, Torfaen, NP44 5TQ.
Snapshot of the Ken Jones Appeal.
2010 December: Blaenavon community council and local residents ask the community to support an appeal to raise funds for a statue of Ken Jones.
2011 January: WRU President Dennis Gethin lends his support to the appeal.
March: Ken Jones' wife Irene and son Phil lend their support. Mr Jones said: "Dad was a Blaenavon boy and it would be nice for him to be remembered."
August: Free Press launches campaign.
A book called Boots and Spikes is launched in Blaeavon by historian Steve Lewis, which documents the life of Ken Jones.
September: Torfaen Council and Blaenavon Town Council donate £3,000.
Griffithstown resident Steven Gibbs, a former teacher from Llantarnam School who taught alongside Ken, donates £50.
October: Couple, Ken and Beryl Phillips, who moved from Blaenavon 31 years ago and now reside in Nevada, USA, donate £500.
The Ken Jones committee shortlist three artists, Laury Dizengremel, Sebastian Boyesen and Leslie Johnson, to make the sculpture that could cost as much as £90,000.
WRU donates £5,000 and the Welsh Charitables Donate £1,000.
Pupils who attend Blaenavon Heritage VC Primary School, Cwmffrwdoer Primary and Ysgol Bryn Onnen join the fundraising campaign.
December: Former Welsh rugby captain turned commentator Eddie Butler backs the appeal.
Pupils from Ken's former school, West Mon, raise £100.
Abersychan School pupils wow shoppers in Blaenavon and Pontypool with their musical talent while raising money.
Ken Jones appeal is a 'fantastic project' says First Minister Carwyn Jones.
Newport Dragons legend David Watkins backs plan.
January: Sculptors unveil their designs for the statue and the committee choose Leslie Johnson.
Former local runner Sidney Riley, who once raced against Ken Jones, backs the campaign.
A bucket collection by the Ken Jones committee at a Gwent Dragons match raises £350.
March: The committee travel to The House of Commons, London, and former Labour Party leader Lord Kinnock lends his support and donates £100.
May: The committee host a boxing event in Blaenavon.
Melin Homes and Curves Pontypool join forces raising £243.
August: A memorial match between Blaenavon RFC chairman's XV V Newport RFC raises over £600.
The appeal total currently stands at £14,735.47.
PANEL - JOIN in a free Zumba taster held by Melin Homes and Curves Pontypool to raise money for the Ken Jones Appeal.
Taking place by the bandstand in Pontypool, between 12noon and 2pm, on September 5, pop along and make a donation to the appeal.
A fund raising social evening and disco will be held at Blaenavon RFC on September 29.
Tickets cost £4 and can be obtained from Blaenavon RFC, Joan Bartlett, Alan Jones, Stuart Evans and Pauline Whitcombe.
Contact Alan Jones on 07979 990006 for more details.
Why not host an event for the appeal or raise money at work by holding a cake sale or sponsored silence? For more information call reporter Hayley Mills on 01633 777278. PANEL - KEN BIOGRAPHY Ken Jones was born in Blaenavon in 1921, and was educated at West Monmouth Grammar School in Pontypool.
He started playing rugby for Blaenavon RFC and then went on to play for Newport RFC. Ken then moved to Newport where he taught at Newport High School. He will forever be remembered as the man who scored the vital try that helped Wales to beat New Zealand at Cardiff Arms Park in 1953 - the last time Wales beat the All Blacks.
Ken made 44 appearances for his country between 1947 and 1957.
As well as his triumphs on the rugby pitch he also enjoyed a career as an olympic sprinter.
It was while serving in World War II that he developed his sprinting prowess. He represented Britain in the 1948 Olympics and won silver in the 4x100 relay. He was a bronze medallist at the 1954 Commonwealth Games over 200 metres for Wales.