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Boxing “hero” remembered in the ring

Boxing “hero” remembered in the ring

Friday 07 December 2018

Boxing “hero” remembered in the ring

The memory of a local prison guard and boxing coach, who spent decades helping others turn their lives around through the sport, before passing away from cancer, will be kept alive at his beloved club thanks to a special tribute.

To remember and honour the man who led them for over 30 years and helped many young islanders, the Jersey Leonis Boxing Club yesterday unveiled a plaque in honour of Dave Thompson MBE, who died in 2012 at the age of 67.

Dave, who was a boxer before becoming a coach at Jersey Leonis Boxing Club in the early 1970s, is remembered as "a true hero of the ring" and a "boxing stalwart".

Dqve Thompson Leonis Boxing Club

Pictured: The plaque was installed just outside the South Hill Gym, where the Leonis Boxing Club is based.

He was awarded an MBE in 2006 for his services to young people and his contribution to boxing. Paul Young, who knew Dave for nearly 20 years, said boxing was Dave's "single and true passion in life."

"He was not only teaching the boys but always trying to help people. He was always going the extra mile if he knew someone needed help. That's why he was recognised with an MBE, he gave so much to young people and to the island," he told Express.

Dave also worked as a guard at La Moye Prison where he also did his utmost to help people, using boxing to help them turn their life around.

Dave Thompson Leonis  Boxing Club

Pictured: Dave's wife, Jackie Thompson, unveiled the plaque.

Sadly, Dave died six years ago after a long battle with cancer. A few months before his death, he had been selected to carry the Olympic Torch, but was too unwell to attend it. "It was such a shame," Mr Young recalled.

To honour Dave's memory and "commemorate how much he gave to the island", the Trustees of the Dave Thompson MBE Charitable Trust decided to have a plaque made for him. A photo of Dave "all suited and booted" to receive his MBE was selected to feature on the plaque, which describes him as a "true hero of the ring". The note on the plaque says: "He was a mentor to many young fighters over the years, from a variety of different backgrounds and was a positive influence on hundreds of islanders."

The plaque sits outside the club just by the entrance - "a fitting place to remember him", according to Mr Young. Due to South Hill gym being a States building, the trustees had to jump through hoops to get permission for the plaque. Nonetheless, the Assistant Minister with responsibility for Sport, Senator Steve Pallett, was supportive of the idea, as well as Sports Operations Director Barclay Harvey.


Pictured: Senator Steve Pallett at yesterday's ceremony.

They both attended a ceremony yesterday morning in which Dave's wife, Jackie, unveiled the plaque. It was produced by Mark Reynolds of Jersey Monumental, who knew Dave for many years. "All the people that contributed to the plaque knew Dave. A lot of people knew him and they were all happy to help out. It speaks volumes for how highly regarded he was," Mr Young said.

Dave's friends are also carrying on his legacy through the Dave Thompson MBE Charitable Trust. It was created in 2013 to raise funds in order to "promote, encourage, and facilitate the participation by young or disadvantaged persons living in Jersey in amateur boxing."

The trust, which includes Mr Young, as well as Gary Bellot and Jerry O'Keefe, regularly organises boxing shows at the L'Horizon Hotel to raise money. "It has a double benefit. It also gives local boxers the opportunity to fight. All they have to do is turn up."

Dave Thompson Leonis Boxing Club

Pictured: Since 2013, the Dave Thompson Charitable Trust has been raising money for local charities, including Jersey Hospice Care.

Since its launch, the Trust has raised £2,000 to help Jersey Leonis buy new equipment, as well as £2,500 for Jersey Hospice Care, which "took care of Dave for quite some time".

"We also raised money for Headway, which helps people with head injuries," Mr Young added. "We thought it was quite appropriate with boxing, and the Stroke Association, as Mr Bellot suffered a stroke and has seen first-hand the work they do. If there is any leftover money, it goes to Jersey Age Concern."

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