Founder members included: Local publican and former boxer Reg Topper who volunteered as a trainer and fundraiser. Beat policeman Bill McCourt acted as Honorary Secretary. Railway man Jim Parodi was club treasurer.
These were backed up by a willing group of trainers and helpers who were all intent on getting the club established, hoping to rid the area of increasing vandalism by bored local youngsters in a deprived environment. The team consisted of: Wally White, Brian Wigger, George Barrow, Joe Annerson, Ron Hagland, John Roberts, Terry Emberson. Sadly, within 6 months, Reg Topper died of a heart attack and Bill McCourt moved on due to promotion in his police career so Ron Hagland took the roles of honorary secretary and fund-raiser.
Within 2 years the club’s expansion required larger premises and in 1976 they moved to the Michael Sobell Sports Centre to accomodate the increasing membership of people from all over the borough. The club was now operating 6 days a week.
It was then considered appropriate to re-name the club and it then became known as Islington Boys’ Club. As the expansion of the club grew, the search was on for their own premises which would, in turn, attract some borough funding.
In 1981, the very supportive Mayor of Islington suggested the possibility of using the site offices of the Bovis Construction Company on the Elthorne Park site in Hazellville road N19. After a meeting with the Bovis Director it was agreed that, as the building of the Elthorne Park Estate was complete, Bovis no longer required the use of the site offices and were prepared to agree the sale of the building to Islington Boys’ Club, subject to Council Planning Permission.
The next challenge was to seek Town Hall permission for the building’s ‘change of use’ and after many meetings and extensive negotiations, permission was granted.
During this transition period there were some more sad losses as Wally White passed on and some of the club’s helpers were unable to follow the relocation to the northern end of the borough. Administrative help had always been in short supply and in April 1983 the club suffered another sad loss with the passing of dedicated member Jim Parodi which left Ron Hagland to pick up the role of club treasurer. Ron continues to carry the club forward with the aid of many friends and associates who hold him in great esteem to this day.
Frankie Vaughan, then vice-president of the National Association of Boys’ Clubs (N.A.B.C.), formally opened the club’s new home on the 17th February 1984 and there was much appreciated financial help from : the Joseph Levy Charitable Foundation, the Variety Club of Great Britain, Bovis Construction Ltd, the ILEA, Federation of London Youth Clubs plus many kind, personal friends who had supported the club along the way.
The first 8 years were totally self-financed but, since then, Islington Council has assisted with a small annual grant. The majority of our funding still comes from our own efforts and the appreciation of our many friends and supporters. We now have a coaching staff of 5 full ABA coaches and an assistant ABA coach who keep all the boxers on the straight and narrow!! Oner Avara an islington old boy has managed the club since 2000 with an unparalleled efficiency.
The club is in use 7 days a week (5 nights during the week and Saturday/Sunday lunchtimes ) with additional run sessions on Hampstead Heath at the weekends. We cater for serious boxers who want to compete ( mon/wed/fri ~ 6pm – 8.30pm ) as well as keep fit enthusiasts who can enjoy the same rigorous workouts without the full contact combat ( mon – fri ~ 7.30 – 9pm & Saturday/Sunday lunchtimes )
The club has produced some excellent talent over the years, including:
John Beckles – 1985 & 1987 ABA National Champion at light-heavyweight (1987 with Fairbairn)
Courtney Fry – 1996, 1998 & 2001 ABA National Champion at light-heavyweight ( 1998 with Repton, 2001 with Salisbury ).1998 European Silver medalist at the Euro games. 1998 Commonwealth Gold medallist in Kuala Lumpar, Malaya.
Lenny Hagland – NABC Champion and Young England rep
In the past two seasons we have had national novice ABA finalists, London champions, a national golden gloves champion and a number of entries into both the novice and senior ABAs.
Tel: Reggie: 07920 280230
April 19th 2010 By Lenny Hagland
|Aaron Morgan after his fine stoppage win
|Patrick Ward being presented his trophy by Kevin Mitchell
|Charlie Dickie along with coaches Jerry Mitchell and Bevis Allen
|IBC coaches Bevis Allen & Paul McMahon with Bahadour Moussa