Black tie bash marks boxing icon’s milestone

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Generations of Sheffield boxers gathered at a gala dinner to celebrate 50 years of St Thomas Gym, Wincobank.

Former Sports minister Richard Caborn, world European, Commonwealth and British champions past and present were among 450 guests at the £50-a head black-tie event at Magna Science and Adventure Centre in Rotherham in honour of founder Brendan Ingle and his family.

“What Brendan has achieved in this city is without parallel,” said former Sheffield Central MP Caborn.

“This was a night to remember and it’s not just about the champions.

“What Brendan his wife Alma and their family have done for generations of Sheffield kids has been exceptional.”

“A lot of these kids have come from really difficult backgrounds and have had their lives improved through the discipline of boxing.

“It was a great night for a great man.”

Boxing coach Brendan, aged 74, who moved to Sheffield from Dublin in 1959 said: “I’m over the moon, what a great night.

“To see all these people here from different backgrounds and generations is fantastic. I’m overwhelmed by it all, marvellous night.”

St Thomas graduates Brian Anderson, Johnny Nelson, Herol Graham, Junior Witter and others spoke of their affection for the gym and for the achievements of the Ingles over five decades.

“Brendan has been like a second father to a lot of us and this dinner was our way of saying thank you again for all he has given to us, to boxing and to the city of Sheffield,” said former world cruiserweight champion Johnny Nelson.

Entertainment included Irish dancers from the Gillian Banks Theatre School, Ceilidh band Beer For Breakfast and gospel singers Black Pearl Events.

Proceeds go to the Alzheimers Society and The Brendan Ingle Foundation, a charitable trust that helps young people learn self-discipline and social skills through boxing.