Friends and family of local boxing legend Terry Lavin threw a surprise party to mark his 60 years of service to the sport.
Lavin, a former national champion, has coached hundreds of boxers at Langold ABC without charging them a penny, and a number of them joined a crowd of well wishers at a surprise bash at the Corner Pocket in Langold last week.
WBO European and Commonwealth champion Ross Burkinshaw was a special guest, and presented Lavin, who celebrated his 74th birthday on Wednesday, with a pair of signed gloves.
It all began at Firbeck Boxing Club for Lavin, before a move to Elmfield House ABC in Doncaster.
On 9th March 1957 he picked up his first national title, winning the National Schoolboys in Liverpool.
And two weeks later, on his 16th birthday, he fought twice on the same day at the Royal Albert Hall in London and won both bouts to clinch the Junior ABA title of the United Kingdom at lightweight.
The final, in which he beat a youngster from West Hendon ABC, was filmed by Pathe News.
A successful amateur career followed, with 45 victories from his 55 outings.
And when he turned professional, he won twice and lost twice.
In the 1978/79 boxing season Lavin and a group of friends, including Graham Coe, Alec Bonser and Stuart Mallaby, started Langold Amateur Boxing Club.
They used various venues in the area, and in the club’s heyday around 100 boxers would turn out for the thrice-weekly training sessions.
Since the 1980s, Lavin has run the club on his own, with a strict ‘no subs’ rule meaning boxers could use the facilities free of charge.
Success in the ring was followed by success in the corner, Lavin coaching a fighter to follow in his footsteps to the ABA finals and producing a number of professionals.
And his decades of dedication to the sweet science were reognised at last week’s party.
Organiser Steven Slater said: “Terry was an amateur boxer and a professional and has been training youngsters since 1975.”
“He has never charged them or asked for anything in all those years, so I thought he deserved something in return.”
“He really is a local legend.”