A long-term friend of Herol ‘Bomber’ Graham who visited him in a mental health institute says there may be grounds for optimism about his health.
The one-time world title contender, admitted to a London hospital weeks ago, has been visited by retired Star photographer Stuart Hastings.
“At times he seemed cheerful and happy” said Hastings. “We had a lovely chat rolling back the years - I reminded him when I took pictures of him as a teenager in lodgings in Rivelin. He has the same smile now as he had then. He talked about Naseem Hamed and Brendan Ingle, and he has friends popping in to see him.
“I hope he gets well enough to come out. The place he is in is a bit hard to get used to as an outsider but I hope he is getting the treatment he deserves and he’ll get out of there when the time is right. He didn’t seem at all depressed, or if he was, he certainly wasn’t showing it.
“He has put a bit of weight on, eating whatever he gets there, but I imagine he’ll want to get back to his own diet. We hugged each other when I left and I hope to visit him when he gets out.”
In January, The Star revealed that the 58-year-old - who has previously considered suicide - had been committed to St Ann’s mental health unit. This week ring legend Frank Bruno and Graham’s former gym mate Johnny Nelson will be among more than 100 people involved in a 24-hour sponsored skipathon at the Nottingham School of Boxing.
Nelson said: “It’s fantastic to see the whole city coming together to raise awareness and remove the stigma attached to mental health.”
Organiser Marcellus Baz told Notts TV: “Herol has been an amazing figure in our gym for years, many people have benefited from his kindness and we are raising money to be there for him while he needs it most.”
Players from Nottingham Forest, Notts County, Nottingham Rugby and Nottingham Panthers are also taking part.
Baz added: “To have the support from such iconic people and local heroes is something that I always find amazing.
“People like Frank and Johnny have been so good to us and I am eternally grateful to everyone who’ll be picking up the ropes for Herol.”