Cllr. Alan Jones will be shortly meeting up with an Australian couple who found Ken Jones’ Lions shirt in their loft.
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. 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.
Tony Mabey, whose stepson’s in-laws met Mr and Mrs Walker whilst holidaying in Australia 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. "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.”
Mr Mabey was put in touch with Blaenavon councillor Alan Jones – Mr Jones’ cousin. Cllr Jones was influential in campaigning for the memorial statue of the Wales legend to be built in Blaenavon in his role as secretary of the Ken Jones committee. 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.”
Cllr Jones has now arranged 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.
Picture credit: Bill Walker/Torfaen council