By Gareth James

Friends, colleagues and admirers of Eddie Butler joined in a heartfelt celebration of the rich life of the former Wales captain on Thursday afternoon.

Abergavenny Market Hall was the venue for an emotional memorial service for the much-loved and multi-talented broadcaster and writer, who died last September while on a charity event in Peru.

Around 750 people gathered to hear former Pontypool and Wales teammates share their memories of the1983 British and Irish Lions tourist, who went on to become the voice of the Six Nations as well as an esteemed national newspaper writer.

David Bishop, Bob Norster and Goff Davies were among those who recalled playing alongside or against the former No.8, who won 16 caps for Wales.

They were joined by a host of Ed’s former broadcasting colleagues such as Jonathan Davies, Brian Moore, Clare Balding, Gaby Logan, John Inverdale and Sonja McLaughlan.

Former Daily Mail rugby correspondent Peter Jackson recalled Ed’s days as a successful rugby writer for both The Guardian and The Observer.

As well as guests on stage, many interviews, commentaries, and readings featuring one of the best loved and most instantly recognisable voices in Wales were played on the big screens.

The audience was filled with many more ex-internationals, members of the Butler family, as well as the public who wanted to show their appreciation for Butler’s many and varied talents.

Ed’s commentary partner and former international Davies summed up the feelings of many ahead of this weekend’s Wales v Ireland Six Nations opener at the Principality Stadium, when he said: “It still hasn’t really hit home that Ed has gone, but it will on Saturday when the tournament begins and I’ll walk into the stadium and Ed won’t be there.”

A rousing rendition of Cwm Rhondda – as well as Ed’s favourite rugby anthem, The Fields of Athenry, were provided by the Beaufort Male Voice Choir and there was a later reception held  at Abergavenny Rugby Club.

Butler won his Welsh caps between 1980 and 1984 and captained Wales on six occasions.

He was also a key member of the Pontypool side that dominated Welsh rugby in the early 1980s under the guidance of coach Ray Prosser.


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