A STATUE in honour of the late sporting legend Ken Jones could be erected in his home town Blaenavon by April.
Chairman of the Ken Jones appeal fund, Stuart Evans, revealed the good news at a charity event last Thursday .
The committee is waiting to hear if they have been awarded a National Assembly Heads of the Valley grant to complete the project.
Mr Evans explained that £14,000 had already been collected by the fundraising committee, before adding: "We are optimistic that funding will be available."
There was controversy however as the Ken Jones committee announced it will commission sculptor Laury Dizengremel to carry out the project, at a fraction of the original price, for £28,500.
Her prices are significantly cheaper than the original chosen artist Les Johnson who said a bronze version would cost £95,000, so back tracked on their previous decision to use his design.
Mr Johnson said: "The committee has naively taken on a large project and now finds itself out of its depth. In a desperate bid to procure finance and meet the new deadline, they have cast aside any ethical considerations and treated the sculptors shabbily.
"I would be amazed if any professional sculptor can deliver a bronze statue of Ken Jones in the new timescale and maintain highest quality."
Mr Jones, who died in 2006 at the age of 84, was a rugby great who played on the wing for Newport and Wales and who also won an Olympic silver medal with the Great Britain 4x100m relay team at the 1948 Games in London.
Thursday’s event held at Bettws Newydd Village Hall, near Usk, was attended by his widow Irene, and chaired by another rugby legend, 70s star Gerald Davies.
The British and Irish Lions star chaired a panel of three Gwent rugby heroes who answered questions from the audience who paid a £5 donation.
The trio consisted of two other famous Blaenavon sons flanker Terry Cobner, ex-lock John Perkins and Newport and Wales hooker Bryn Meredith.
The event, which was organised by the hall’s chairman John Hathaway, raised £600.
Mr Davies said of Mr Jones: "He was a remarkable sportsman who achieved things which could not be achieved nowadays."