Heart-warming charity night for Sheffield’s Bomber Graham

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You don’t associate tears with a tough boxer who campaigned over 54 fights, many at world level.

But Herol ‘Bomber’ Graham was unashamedly emotional on Saturday when 35 of his boxing buddies and an army of loyal fans gathered at the Magna Centre to show their support and raise money - around £6,000 - for him.

Graham has been ill after suffering blood-poisoning complications following a burst appendix.

He told The Star: “My body is up and down, one moment I am OK then I go on a big dip.

“I came to Magna before the event started and didn’t think I could fill this big hall, for one minute.

“But so many people turned up...and I have to admit it made me very tearful.

Herol Graham night at the Magna Centre

Herol Graham night at the Magna Centre

“I was five minutes away from death, at my worst, and so to survive and see so many people come to support me was incredible.”

Former Sheffield world champion Clinton Woods said it was important that Sheffield boxers showed their respect for Graham.

“He had a great career, he was one of the best fighters Britain has ever had, unfortunately never won a world title, he was around at a hard time.”

He was one of those who triggered ‘big time’ boxing in Sheffield, added Woods. “I had my photo taken with him when I was about seven years old!”

Herol Bomber Graham and admirers

Herol Bomber Graham and admirers

If Graham, 56, was on the scene now, he’d have cleaned up all the belts, he added.

“He would dominate the middleweight (division).”

There was a great deal of warmth, too, for retired boxers Jerome Wilson and Lee Noble, who have survived life-threatening ailments to turn up and applaud Graham.

Home town boy Nav Mansouri, recovering from a serious leg injury, also made the effort to limp centre stage to show his support.

Sheffield's Herol "Bomber" Graham

Sheffield's Herol "Bomber" Graham