A CAMPAIGN launched today aims to honour one of Newport's unsung sporting heroes with a statue in the heart of the city.

The fundraising drive is looking to raise £30,000 to pay for the memorial to David Pearce who was British and Welsh Heavyweight Champion in the 1980s and one the most successful boxers to come out of Newport.

The plan is for the life sized statue of the fighter to be erected in the corner of Gilligan's Island facing St Joseph's boxing gym.

Dubbed by many as 'Newport's own Rocky' the ex-steelworker became the Welsh and British Heavyweight champion in 1983, winning the coveted heavyweight Lonsdale belt. Always proud of his home town, David said at the time: "I did it for Newport”.

The campaign was set up by relative of David's, Luke Pearce, who says: "He was a fighter who always showed grit and courage. As well as winning the British and Welsh titles, in 1984 he came close to winning the European Heavyweight title in France. This was despite having a broken hand and, because the promoter had not arranged somewhere for David to stay, having to sleep on a park-bench before the fight.”

It is to honour the courage he showed in his successes that Luke believes that Newport will get behind the campaign.

He adds: "The guts he always showed came from his background. He was an ordinary Pill boy, but wherever he fought he did Newport proud."

"People remember him training around in the town, running up and down Belle Vue Park - he really was like Newport's Rocky."

The hashtag #newportsrocky is being used to promote the campaign on social media.

The campaign has already been backed by the Mayor of Newport Councillor David Atwell, with a number of other supporters joining the fundraising committee. They include Newport councillor Kevin Whitehead, businessmen Rob Santwris, Andrew Collingbourne, Nathan Hennah and Steve Morgan Associates.

There are plans to stage a number of fundraising events in the city across the coming months, but you can support the campaign now by going to the crowdfunding website justgiving.com/crowdfunding/david-pearce

Cheques payable to 'The David Bomber statue fund' and should be sent to: Cwm Cottage, Cwm Lane, Rogerstone, Newport NP10 9GQ.

South Wales Argus: David Pearce campaign logo