ADAPT AND SURVIVE
Croydon EBA’S October 28 function goes down a treat
TO survive, one needs to adapt, and that’s as true of EBAS as any other group, or species. For years, Croydon EBA would hold a Summer Buffet – an informal lunch – and a formal evening Dinner around October or November. But in recent times there have been problems with the Buffet – finding a suitable venue free on a date when another EBA wasn’t staging an event – and the numbers at the Dinner have been falling off, because members of other EBAS find it difficult to travel long distances late at night.
Croydon’s solution was to combine the two – hold a formal meal, but make it a lunch, to enable people to get home more easily. Result – a very successful function at the Masonic Hall on October 28, with over 50 in attendance, good food and a great atmosphere.
Twenty-five pound per head for a three-course meal was a real bargain, with the main course being a carvery and a selection of starters and desserts. Organising it all was Croydon’s irrepressible Chairman, Barry Penny, still not fully recovered from his health problems but keeping busy nonetheless. With Barry were partner Irene and son Steven, and Barry paid a moving tribute to Irene for the way she has taken care of him over the past months.
The meal began with 10 bells in honour of the late Mick Smith, whom Barry described as “a legend in the EBA movement – a one-off, difficult to replace. He’s sorely missed.”
There was a party from Brighton EBA, who have always supported Croydon. I took the opportunity of asking Chairman Ernie Price about Brighton’s new venue – The Romans, Manor Hall Road, Southwick. The first meeting took place there a fortnight previously. “Marvellous,” Ernie said. “Best venue we’ve ever had. Parking’s great, everything about it’s good.” I’m very pleased. Moving is always rather a leap in the dark, but this is one move that’s clearly successful. Jane Davison was there from Brighton, passing round the petition to get an honour for former undisputed world middleweight champion Alan Minter.
From Croydon I saw President Bill Caswell, former Commonwealth lightweight champion Pat Doherty, Mick Lock, Mick Hinton, Terry Jenkins, Terry Pook, Ray Pakeman, Tony Chapman, Eric Pudney, Dave Mccarthy and Dave Cowland. One absentee was former pro Mick Hussey, a regular at CEBA meetings – sadly he’s currently suffering from a slipped disc. Get well soon, Mick.
The raffle raised £270, and the event made a profit overall. Most people were enthusiastic about the lunch-time format. One dissenting voice suggested people were more likely to get up and dance in the evening than in the afternoon. Singer Barry Stevens worked hard to get people to dance – there was some reluctance at first, but new member Shannon O’brien (introduced in August by her father, Paul Taylor) took the lead, and her enthusiasm was catching. Several people had had to leave directly after lunch, but soon most of those left were on the dancefloor.
All in all, a great afternoon. Moral – if the old format doesn’t work any longer, adapt and find one that does. I’m sure there’ll be another lunch next year, and I hope more EBAS come along in support.
November’s Mug’s Alley, newsletter of the Merseyside Former Boxers’ Association, opens with the sad news of the death of Frank Hope, Merseyside and Liverpool’s first-ever ABA champion (middleweight, 1955). Merseyside didn’t have to wait long for their second champion – in the next bout, Bootle’s Dave Rent won the light-heavyweight title! Frank boxed for St Teresa’s ABC and represented England against Wales, Ireland and West Germany – and, most memorably, the USA (in London in 1955). After eight bouts the teams were level – four wins each – and it all depended on Frank’s bout with Eddie Jenkins. And Frank won on points to clinch the tournament. Frank’s son, Gary, also boxed, winning the 1983 NY Golden Gloves 178lb Open Championship.
PETITION: Davison is determined to get an honour for Minter