THIS year’s Gary Davidson Golf Classic, at the Darenth Valley Golf Club in Kent, was another great success, with the weather holding off until the evening when virtually everyone had completed their round.
This year the beneficiary was former British and European champion Sammy Reeson, who’s had some horrendous problems but always battled through. He was his usual cheerful self.
LEBA member Tommy Mulholland, who organises the event, kindly invited me to the dinner, and I was delighted to meet a number of old and new friends. Impossible to name everyone there, and some of the golfers didn’t stay for the meal. But here are some of those I saw.
From London, committee member Bob Cheeseman helped with the organising and acted as compere for the presentation of the prizes. Photographer Derek Rowe was also involved in the organisation. Other London members included Johnny Kramer, Georgie Day, Dave Smith, John and Carol Oliver, Peter Cragg, Steve Hiser, Claudia Keston and former British super-welterweight champion Jimmy Batten – who made it despite having had health problems recently. Jimmy does a great deal for charity, and good causes generally.
Home Counties Chairman Bob Williams did a great job as MC and auctioneer, and former secretary Michael Lordan was there too. During dinner I sat next to former British and Commonwealth light-heavyweight champion Eddie Avoth, now 74 and talking proudly about his grandchildren. Eddie is President of the Welsh EBA, who were due to hold their annual Reunion last weekend – I hope it went well, and look forward to receiving some reports.
Essex EBA were represented by hard-working Chairman Tommy Burling, and Jimmy Butler and Harry Scott came from Brighton. Others there included BBBC Southern Area Chairman Michael Collier: former promoter Vince Heckman, bravely battling ill-health: five-times ABA champion Terry Waller, today an ambassador for the Ringside Rest and Care Home: former English and Southern Area welterweight champion Ross Minter: and former Southern Area super-welter champion David Walker.
Though the event was in aid of Sammy Reeson, John Oliver was invited to speak about the Ringside Rest and Care Home, for which he is a trustee. He gave the glad news that registration as a charity should be completed in September – and once that was done, one of the businessmen involved in the project had guaranteed a building. John spoke movingly of the need to look after boxers and former boxers who fall on hard times – he spoke from experience, having had his own career cut short by injury, and having nearly lost his nephew, Spencer Oliver, who collapsed during a European super-bantamweight title defence against Ukrainian Sergey Devakov at the Albert Hall in 1998.
Tommy Mulholland said this was the 29th such event he’d organised. Gary Davidson was a former pro Southern Area bantamweight champion – after retiring he turned to managing and promoting. He was also a former BN staffer. Sadly he died in 2000, aged just 46, after battling motor neurone disease for years.
“I started this event to help Gary – there was so much special equipment and the like that he needed,” Tommy said. “After he died I kept it up, in his name, to help others in need.”
Jimmy Butler and Harry Scott are great supporters of the EBA movement. A few days before the Golf Classic they attended Croydon’s monthly meeting.
With Chairman Barry Penny still in the care home (he should be out by the time this is published), I combined the duties of Chairman and minute-taker, and there was the usual good atmosphere. The raffle raised £75.
Former Commonwealth lightweight champion Pat Doherty said that he and fellow-member Paul Taylor had attended the Brighton EBA Summer Barbecue earlier in the month. “We were very well treated, made very welcome,” Pat said. “And we caught up with lots of people.” Croydon’s special Sunday Lunch takes place on October 27, so if you haven’t booked your tickets please do.