BOURNEMOUTH EBA hold their annual reunion on Saturday June 22 at Bournemouth Sports Club, Chapel Gate, Christchurch, from 1pm to 6pm. Everyone is welcome. Bournemouth is an Association that shows its support for today’s scene by presenting annual trophies to the area’s best amateurs. The presentations are made at the reunion, and this year’s winners are Jamie Dennis [pictured] from Poole ABC and Macey Gardner (Arena ABC).

Member Peter Judge wrote to me about a special award to be made this year – to a “very courageous” young lady named Kate Farley. Kate, who’s 28, suffers from severe cerebral palsy. But, accompanied by her mother, she attends local boxing gyms five days a week and completes exercises on her knees – even in the ring.

“With the help of club trainers, she manages a range of helpful exercises,” Peter said. “Our President, Dave Fry, was so touched by Kate’s story that he proposed that we present both her and the trainers at Poole ABC with trophies, and we all immediately agreed.”

Well done, Jamie and Macey – and well done, Kate. What an example of courage and determination. And well done, Bournemouth, for making the awards. I hope the reunion goes well, and look forward to receiving a report.

I was sorry to hear from North Staffs EBA Secretary Richard Vaughan of the death of founder member Larry Parkes, aged 88. “Larry was a larger-than-life character,” Richard said, “whose generosity to those in need knew no bounds.”

In his time, Larry held the positions of Vice-Chairman, Chairman and President of North Staffs. He was also a President of the Northern Boxers Federation and a supporter of the Central (Midlands) Ex-Boxers Association – and he was inducted into the British Ex-Boxers Hall of Fame.

During his National Service, Larry was an Imperial Services Champion, and also a finalist in the highly respected National Coal Board Championships. He turned professional at middleweight under former pro Benny Jones, and between 1952 and 1954 won 17 of 21 contests, 14 inside schedule. Among his victims were such well-known names as Michael Stack, Jimmy Lynas (who split two verdicts with the great Dick Tiger) and former ABA champion Peter Longo. My condolences to Larry’s family and friends.
Croydon EBA lost a stalwart in long-time committee member Ken Bunker. Ken, who was 73, was a great supporter of CEBA, and the local amateur scene. He’ll be much missed.

Some interesting reminiscences from reader Derrick Hardman, as follows: “I’m very sorry to hear that the Nottingham EBA has folded. Graham Rooksby and his son [Gary] did a great job holding it together for many years. Their annual get-together for other EBAs was a great success. My dad and I attended and met many legends of the ring, including John H Stracey, Ken Buchanan and Earnie Shavers, as well as many lesser-known but equally fascinating and lovely ex-boxers from around the country.

“A few years ago, I heard from John F Kennedy, who boxed out of Draycott in the ‘70s and ‘80s, and was very keen on starting a Derbyshire/Nottinghamshire/Midlands EBA. I saw him fight at the Assembly Rooms in Derby, against Birmingham’s Joey Mack. I met Pat Cowdell that night, who had retired but had become a trainer.”

The Mack-Kennedy bout took place on December 1, 1981, and was sensational, with Mack being put down four times in the first five rounds but rallying to take a 10-round verdict – and retain his Midlands Area welterweight title. It was Kennedy’s last fight – he bowed out with nine wins (four early) against two defeats. His other loss was to that fine boxer, Achille “Speedy” Mitchell. John won their first meeting on points, lost the return the same way and then won the rubber, flooring and halting his rival in the third. If you’re still thinking of starting a new EBA, John, do be in touch – I’ll give you all the publicity I can.

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