Legends Night Raises Thousands

There wasn’t an empty space at the Ocean Café, Bar and Restaurant in Broad Haven as rugby followers enjoyed a wonderful time with some great names of the oval ball game on the eve of the Lions’ epic second-test win in Wellington, New Zealand; and at the same time the magnificent sum of £6,000 was raised for the Pembrokeshire Friends of Prostate Cymru.

Small wonder then that owners Kay and Mostyn Davies, the former Pontypool RFC flanker, were delighted by the support they received in this their third pre-Lions’ event in recent years, not least because of the wonderful support he received from former team mates and opponents, all of whom travelled to Broad Haven without even claiming travelling expenses.

Leading the way was Clive Rowlands OBE, who skippered Wales from scrum half in all his 14 appearances in the red shirt, was a very successful national coach over 29 games, managed the Lions and Wales in the World Cup and was honoured with presidency of the WRU in 1989.

Now 79 years young, Rowlands captivated the audience with his tales of yesteryear and provided the perfect launch pad for the night before a buffet meal and then a question-and answer session presided over by local MC Bill Carne.

The audience provided the questions, which invariably led to stories about great characters from rugby, with Eddie Butler, the former Wales and Pontypool captain, three-times Cambridge Blue, British Lion and now hugely-regarded television commentator and national journalist as a leading speaker alongside a former Lion in Peter Morgan, and Welsh international full back Geraint Bowen as local representatives on a mighty panel.

Butler’s ability to relay a saga with his perfect mimicry of accents took us from his rather posh mother chatting to the ultra-tough Pontypool coach Ray Prosser, to an English skipper from Berry Hill, to the lovely Scottish lilt of former Lions’ coach Jim Telfer!

This was never more evident than in an amazing finale to the evening as he recited Telfer’s pre-Lions test motivational speech against South Africa that earned a rapt silence followed by a crescendo of applause for his wonderful rendition.

Also making an unforgettable finish to what some described as the ‘best night they had ever been to’ was former Welsh coach Mike Ruddock OBE, whose career with Swansea was ended early by an injury at work but who then became Welsh coach and took them to the ‘Grand Slam’.

Now living with his family in Ireland, where he is still involved, Mike is another born raconteur who regaled his captive audience with light-hearted stories about other great characters he had met, on and off the field.

Then Mr Ruddock joined Eddie Butler in that splendid finale where he suddenly found his guitar and started a sing-along where everyone enjoyed ‘Delilah’, ‘American Pie’ and ‘Sweet Caroline’.

Judith Griffiths, whose father Ray Williams started the ‘Pembrokeshire Friends of Prostate Cymru’, thanked everyone for their terrific support and quite rightly singled out Mostyn and Kay Davies for making such a memorable fund-raising evening possible.

 

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