The "Thanks Murray" Campaign will be concluded at the British Grand Prix this weekend (20 July) when a trophy and name list will be handed to veteran Formula One commentator Murray Walker on behalf of South Africans who wanted to thank him for his work. -

- The campaign began two years ago shortly after Walker announced his retirement following more than 50 years of radio and television commentary for the BBC and ITV. He became a hero to many South African Formula One enthusiasts when the SABC began taking live coverage of grand prix races in the '80's. -

- Initiated and co-ordinated by three local fans, grand prix broadcaster Hendrik Verwoerd, IT specialist Jon Eyre and part-time broadcaster Les Faber, the campaign was aimed at collecting names and messages from supporters of Walker to thank him for his mammoth contribution to their enjoyment of the sport over the years. -

- A specially designed trophy, along with a booklet containing some 2 500 names of supporters and a CD-ROM with the contents of the Thanks Murray website and copies of fax messages; will be handed to Murray by Verwoerd during the British Grand Prix weekend at Silverstone. -

- "The original idea was to conclude the campaign with gala functions in Johannesburg and Cape Town where we would host Murray, get his supporters to meet him and do the handing over," said Verwoerd. "Murray was very touched about the idea, but it was impossible to find a date for him to come to South Africa that fitted into his incredibly busy schedule. -

- "Negotiations dragged on until the early months of this year, when we concluded that the only way of doing it was for us to go to England. Fortunately I was given the opportunity of covering the British Grand Prix on behalf of Nasionale Pers newspapers, so we decided to kill two birds with one stone." -

- Pretoria-based Faber collected the faxes and co-ordinated the designing and making of the trophy, while Eyre, from Johannesburg, was responsible for the website and consolidation of the name list into the booklet, and he also compiled the CD-ROM. -

- "We felt that the trophy should have a traditional South African look," said Faber. "Many people sent in their ideas and eventually we settled on a wire model of an F1 car, mounted on a wooden base with a Perspex back piece depicting the South African and a chequered flag and an appropriate plaque." -

- The wire model was made by Mr Claudius Kwaramba, who makes his living making models of cars and motorbikes. -

- "We were overwhelmed by the response," said Eyre. "Almost from the word go we began receiving e-mails and faxes from people sorry to see Murray go, while the website, which has since been closed, elicited messages not only from South Africans but from all over the world. -

- "South Africa is the only country that organised such a campaign to thank Murray for his contribution." -

- "We want to thank each and everyone who contributed to the campaign," concluded Verwoerd. "It wasn't possible to keep them informed all the time, but at least now that the campaign has reached its conclusion they know what happened to their contributions."

Original article from Car