EBA members, and boxing people generally, are always happy to give time and money to help their own (and other good causes). So, although I was delighted, I wasn’t at all surprised to hear from Wayne Heywood that Manchester EBA had made a generous donation towards the refurbishment of the new Albion Ashton ABC gym.
Wayne’s plight was highlighted in BN in March – the club is having to quit the premises they’ve used for the past 25 years. Alternative premises have been found, but a total refurbishment is needed – the building has been empty for 10 years. The determination is there – let’s hope the new gym is soon up and running. Wayne asked me to put on record his thanks to secretary Eddie Copeland and all at Manchester EBA – I’m happy to do so.
A minute’s silence was held at London EBA’s June meeting to mark the passing of “Smokin’” Bert Cooper, Patrick Leahy and – with the 75th anniversary of D-Day this month – all the servicemen and women lost in the two World Wars, and other conflicts. LEBA Vice-President Peter Kent and member Dickie Forrester were due to make the trip to Normandy the following day, to take part in the celebrations. Bert Cooper had a comprehensive obituary in BN, while LEBA President Stephen Powell recalled Patrick Leahy’s career as a boxer and trainer, noting that he coached, among others, future British and Commonwealth heavyweight champion Scott Welch.
Mike Taub congratulated ‘Young Gun’ Lucy Wildheart on taking part in the three-mile-high skydive in aid of the Ringside Rest and Care Home. As reported in last week’s BN, several other boxers were involved – one name that was omitted was Joel McIntyre. Well done, everyone who took part – they each paid £284 of their own money. Organiser Andrew Fairley described all the boxers taking part as “fantastic”.
To commemorate the centenary of former world light-heavyweight champion Freddie Mills’ birth, LEBA Committee member Bob Cheeseman announced that there will be a special Golf Day at the Selsdon Park Hotel, near Croydon, on June 26. This will not be a fundraiser – it’s purely to commemorate a fine boxer. I hope it goes well. Stephen Powell produced a copy of a front page of the Daily Mail from 1948, announcing that Freddie had been elected a Freeman of the City of London.
Popular Sammy McCarthy, LEBA Vice-President and former British featherweight champion, hasn’t been too well – a burst ulcer necessitating a stay in hospital. The good news is that he’s now back home. Everyone wishes you well, Sammy, and hopes to see your smiling face at a meeting soon.
Two Croydon members – former Commonwealth lightweight champion Pat Doherty and Paul Taylor – visited LEBA for the first time, thoroughly enjoyed it, and vowed they’d come again. “When I was younger I used to watch Charlie Magri, Jimmy Batten and Jimmy Flint on [BBC’s] Grandstand,” Pat said. “And they’re all here today!” Paul was delighted to meet his old trainer, former British featherweight champion Bobby Neill.
Like all successful EBAs, London know the importance of supporting today’s scene, and being seen to do so. This month’s newsletter, Seconds Out, has an interesting feature by Mike Taub on novice heavyweight Jamie Jervis – 18 years old, 6ft 6ins and 16st-plus. Jamie, from Northolt ABC, is trained by LEBA member Eddie McDermott, who describes him as an “uncut diamond”. Manchester EBA also support their local fighters. Their current newsletter publicises a Fox ABC show on Friday week (June 21) at Lightbowne Social Club, Kenyon Lane, Moston – and congratulates pros Jack Cullen and Jack Flatley on becoming English champions, and Kane Gardner on winning his ninth pro outing. Manchester’s next meeting will be on Sunday July 7 at the Derby Arms, Cheetham Hill Road, at 12 noon. “Everyone very welcome,” the newsletter reads – as I keep stressing, you don’t have to have boxed to join an EBA.