TODAY was a big day for many people across Newport as the statue of hometown hero David 'Bomber' Pearce was unveiled to the public.

Cheers of excitement could be heard as hundreds of supporters of Newport's Rocky campaign gathered round to see the outcome of 16 months of hard work and fundraising. 

The statue was unveiled by Barry featherweight Lee Selby - who described Pearce as "one hell of a fighter".

The Newport's Rocky campaign was set up by the legendary boxer's nephew Luke Pearce, who was overcome with emotion when unveiling the life-size statue.

Thanking everyone who helped raise the eventual £61,000, he said: "Without those people in this committee this wouldn't have been able to happen. This has taken over my life, but I wouldn't want it any other way.

"Its surreal, I have just been so focused, so driven to make this a reality.

"I have been so passionate and it has been a great experience. I have embraced everything about this process. 

"I know everything the committee has gone through is worthwhile. 

"This is for Newport."

The life-size statue of the legendary boxer was designed by Laury Dizengremel, who was chosen by Mr Pearce as he was impressed by her previous work.

After the unveiling, Ms Dizengremel said she was overwhelmed by the reaction and said: "It's amazing to be asked to commemorate someone you haven't met.

"This statue will help us remember the good times and treasure David."

Family members and friends of David Pearce and Luke Pearce attended the event to see the statue. 

David Pearce's son, David Powell-Pearce, 39, said: "It's amazing, overwhelming. I am so emotional.

"Children will be able to see it for years to come."

His daughter, Nartalia Powell-Pearce, six, also attended the event and is following in her grandfather's footsteps and taking boxing lessons. 

Her grandmother, Christine Powell, said: "She loves it. It's great to see it pass down through the family.

"The idea of the statue to get people out and about and not stuck in front of their Xbox is great."

Andrew Collingbourne, one of the committee members for #NewportsRocky said: "This statue is part of a much bigger picture, we want to use the Newport Rocky to underpin future projects to inspire children in sport in Newport. 

"We want to get them into the gym and look at all sports and we want to ensure it is part of a legacy to put money into local clubs.

"That is what the whole David 'Bomber' Pearce project is about."

The statue of the legendary boxer is situated by the Riverfront in Newport.