BOXING people have always been renowned for their generosity. If there’s a good cause that needs supporting, you can rely on them to rally round and give unstintingly of both money and time. And, while this is of course not the reason, it does a lot to raise the profile of an EBA if it’s seen to be supporting a good cause – to be concerned about the present, not simply be reminiscing about the past.
Nordoff Robbins is a great charity that provides music therapy across a wide spectrum – from elderly people with Alzheimer’s Disease, to young children with autism, all can benefit. And the boxing community has supported it for a long time. In recent years, Frank Warren has put on an annual dinner show at the London Hilton. On the Dinner Committee is London EBA Secretary and Treasurer Ray Caulfield – and, Ray, along with long-time LEBA member (and former European and British super-middleweight champion) James Cook MBE, arrange for a number of former champions to attend, each hosting a table. This is an additional selling-point for the evening, and ensures it’s always well-supported.
This year Ray said to me: “Come along and see for yourself what it’s like!” So I did, and the atmosphere was tremendous – so many people packed into one room to support a worthy cause. There were nine former world champions present – Billy Schwer, Maurice Hope, Barry Jones, Colin McMillan, Darren Barker, John Conteh, David Haye, Charlie Magri and Tyson Fury – the last-named receiving this year’s Nordoff Robbins Boxing Icon Award. LEBA members present included Chairman Charlie Wright and committee members Bob Cheeseman and Peter Stanley. Several members of Essex EBA also made it, as did Home Counties Chairman (and Star referee) Bob Williams.