Labour MPs Gerald Jones and Chris Evans have teamed up to donate towards the special-care baby unit in Merthyr’s Prince Charles Hospital in boxer Johnny Owen’s memory.

Both Mr Jones and Islwyn MP Chris Evans made a donation to the unit which they handed over to Johnny’s brother Viv Owen to officially present to the baby care unit.

The Merthyr boxing hero, known as the ‘Matchstick Man’ tragically died in 1980 after receiving severe head injuries in the ring with Lupe Pintor after challenging the Mexican bantamweight champion for his title.

Mr Pintor was later invited to Merthyr and forgiven by Johnny Owens’ family. He also unveiled a statue of the late boxer in the town centre.

Both MPs were inspired to donate after reading how a relief fund totalling £100,000 was raised to pay for his care which was used after his death to establish the special-care baby unit at Prince Charles Hospital.

Gerald said:

“It was a pleasure to give a donation to this unit. The memory of Jonny Owen still lives on in in Merthyr and along the Heads of the Valleys, and both Chris and myself felt that we should donate in the same spirit that many people donated all those years ago.

“I think the best way to continue his legacy and pay their respects for Jonny is to donate to the special care unit that bears his name, which is being upgraded and improved to provide cutting-edge specialist care for babies.”

An edited version of this article also appeared in the Merthyr Express.

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