CROYDON EBA was delighted to welcome four guests at our May meeting – Jimmy Butler and Harry Scott from Brighton, Tommy Mulholland from London and Paul Fairweather, also a London member and a Vice-President of both Brighton and Hastings Associations. Having visitors certainly added to the always-pleasant atmosphere, and it was a very happy and informative meeting. The raffle raised £95.

Paul Fairweather is also a trustee of the British Ex-Boxers’ Hall of Fame and the Ringside Rest and Care Home, and was happy to answer questions about both. A list of nominees for the various Hall of Fame awards for 2020 has been circulated among the EBAs, and Paul was at pains to stress that this is not an exclusive list – the names are suggestions only, and Associations are welcome to nominate anyone they like. This is a very important point, and I’m glad of the opportunity to publicise it.

Paul also reiterated the aims of the Care Home and updated the meeting on the various planned fundraising activities. In answer to a question from Pat Doherty, he confirmed that the Home would be open to former amateurs as well as pros, and said a great many amateur clubs had made donations or taken part in activities. He explained that £100,000 needed to be raised – then two City investors would make it up to the £10m needed to get it started, and also provide the running costs (estimated at £1.5m per year) for the first five years. He finished by thanking Croydon for making him so welcome. “It’s the first time I’ve been to Croydon – I’ll certainly come again!” he said afterwards. Hope you do, Paul.

Someone we were delighted to see come again was Lee McKenzie – he came for the first time in April, thoroughly enjoyed it, and kept his promise to come back.

Tommy Mulholland spoke of the Gary Davidson Golf Classic, set for August 21 at the Darenth Valley Golf Club, Shoreham, Kent. As previously mentioned, this year’s beneficiary will be Sammy Reeson [pictured] – first-ever European and British cruiserweight champion. Tommy told me afterwards that this will be the 29th such event he’s organised.

A minute’s silence was held to mark the passing of Arthur Brooks and Ray Clarke. CEBA Chairman Barry Penny said he had attended Arthur’s funeral and met member Ray Fallone (now living on the Isle of Wight). Ray was managed by Arthur and has nothing but good to say about him.

Two days after the meeting, Ray Clarke’s funeral was held – and there was a good contingent of CEBA members to pay their last respects to our former President. Among them was former Chairman Derek O’Dell, who lives too far away to attend meetings but is an enthusiastic supporter and definitely wanted to be there. As usual, the CEBA members formed a Guard of Honour as the coffin was brought into the chapel.

Ray, of course, was a former General Secretary of the BBBofC – and among the boxing turn-out were his three successors, John Morris, Simon Block and Robert Smith. At the reception afterwards, John paid his own tribute, saying how much Ray had helped him when he took over. Ray’s family kindly asked that donations in his memory should be made either to CEBA or the Salvation Army. The current Manchester EBA newsletter has, as usual, a fascinating piece by Lawrence Yearsley, this time on former Olympian Oliver Kirk, who boxed in the 1904 Games in St Louis, where every one of the boxers was American! And, amazingly, he won gold at both bantam and featherweight! There were only two contenders at bantam and three at feather – and Kirk drew a bye in the higher division, so he won two gold medals from just two contests! As a pro, he lost more than he won, though he scored an excellent sixth-round win over reigning world featherweight champion Abe Attell in a 1912 non-title bout.