A COUPLE from Australia who found a Lions shirt belonging to legendary Welsh winger Ken Jones are planning to visit Blaenavon to return it to Mr Jones’ family.

Bill and Tracey Walker, the son and daughter-in-law of former Australia international Alan Walker, found a selection of old match-worn shirts in his loft after he died.

Among the Australian shirts was a Lions shirt from their 1950 tour of Australia and New Zealand. The shirt had no name on the back, however, it did have K.J Jones written on the label.

Ken Jones was selected for 16 tests on the New Zealand leg of the tour, scoring 16 tries – and also scored in the Lions’ unofficial game against the Sri Lankan national side. However, he picked up an injury and was unable to play in the Australian leg of the tour.

Mr Jones died in 2006 at the age of 84. As well as the Lions, he had played on the wing for Newport and Wales and also won an Olympic silver medal with the Great Britain 4x100m relay team at the 1948 Games in London.


In 2011 the Pontypool Free Press launched a fundraising appeal to support the Ken Jones committee’s call to commission of a statue to commemorate the life and achievements of Mr Jones in his home town.

The two-year campaign raised £15,000, before the committee were awarded an £80,000 National Assembly Heads of the Valley grant to complete the project.

South Wales Argus:

(The unveiling of the Ken Jones statue off Broad Street, Blaenavon, in 2013.)

Mr and Mrs Walker got talking to a Welsh family who were holidaying down under and agreed to help them find Mr Jones’ family so they can return the shirt.

Tony Mabey put out a call on Twitter asking to see if he could find any of Mr Jones’ family, so that Mr and Mrs Walker could return the shirt to them.

“My stepson’s wife’s parents were on holiday in Australia and they met Bill and Tracey,” he said. “They were talking about rugby and mentioned that they had this shirt.

“The reaction to the appeal has been incredible. Lots of people have offered to help.

“The whole rugby community here in Wales have been fantastic. People just seem to really want to get the shirt back to his family. The shirt belongs in Wales, either in a museum or with Ken’s family.”

South Wales Argus:

(Bill and Tracey Walker, the son and daughter-in-law of former Australia international Alan Walker, found a selection of old match-worn shirts in their loft. Picture: Bill Walker. )

Mr Mabey was put in touch with Blaenavon councillor Alan Jones – Mr Jones’ cousin.

He is the closest link to Mr Jones, whose widow, Irene, and son, Philip no longer live in the area.

“It’s a fascinating story,” said Cllr Jones. “There is a lot of interest locally as Ken is a Blaenavon boy.

“I got a few messages while I was on holiday asking about relatives to Ken, and I’m the nearest link in this area.

“Tony gave me the information, and I contacted Ken’s wife, who’s still alive and living in Midlands with his son.

“They wanted me to donate the shirt to Blaenavon museum or Blaenavon Rugby Club.”

South Wales Argus:

(Ken Jones playing on the Lions tour in New Zealand in 1950.)

Mr Mabey added he didn’t know how Alan Walker had ended up with Mr Jones’ shirt, as he had not played in the matches.

Cllr Jones said he was arranging to meet Mr and Mrs Walker at the Ken Jones statue in Blaenavon when they visit the UK at the end of August, so they can hand over the shirt in person.