THE family of Fred Gummerson have received ‘gobsmacking’ tributes from across the country following the well-known boxing trainer’s death last week.
Fred, 86, died at his Grimethorpe home last Thursday following a short illness.
He has since been described as an ‘ambassador for boxing in Barnsley’ and his family have been overwhelmed by messages.
His wife of almost 53 years, Barbara, 82, said: “I’ve had flowers from Yorkshire boxing, people calling at the door and phoning. The window is full with cards. I am just gobsmacked.
“I first met Fred at a party at my auntie’s - I never looked back after that.
“He was a butcher and I found that attractive. He loved his meat.
“He made out he was a tough guy but he definitely had a soft side.”
Fred is credited for playing a part in the career of two-time Olympic champion Nicola Adams, from Leeds, and her parents visited him on the day he died at his home on Brierley Road.
He also coached Andy Townend as he boxed for England as an amateur before moving on to having a successful professional career.
He also produced many other fine fighters out of his Hard and Fast Amateur Boxing Club which is still established in the former Ebenezer Chapel in Cudworth.
Fred also ran a successful boxing equipment shop in Grimethorpe for many years.
He stumbled into the sport through his son, Wes, who had been walking to a gym in Hemsworth to train. Fred was quickly bitten by the boxing bug himself and learned how to become a coach.
He then trained youngsters at the former Willowgarth School, in Grimethorpe Park and at the Welfare Hall before successfully managing to take over the former chapel on Barnsley Road, Cudworth, after Barbara managed to help secure funding to buy the building.
His work saw him travel around the world to the likes of Russia, South Africa and Sweden.
He will be remembered as a colourful and devoted coach within the sport and also for being a big part of his local community. His dedication to coaching earned him a Proud of Barnsley award.
On behalf of Fred’s four children, his daughter Barbara, paid tribute.
She said: “We all loved him and we are all very upset.
“We all adored him. He was a trooper and he was our hero.”
Professional boxing trainer Mick Wale, from Brampton, worked under Fred before being advised to set up his own successful gym in Mexborough.
He paid his own tribute and said: “My lads, Josh and Gwyn, had their first bouts with Fred. After a couple of years with Fred he told me I was experienced enough to go and set my own gym up.
“I learned a lot off him, especially in how to deal with people, whether that was kids or parents. Fred was a master at that.
“I had a lot of time and respect for Fred, everybody did.
“If I ever needed any advice, I’d give him a call. To still be active in boxing up until about 12 months ago is incredible.”
Former British champion Josh Wale added: “He was a great ambassador for Barnsley boxing and sport.
“Nobody in Barnsley has had as many champions as Fred and I know that what he taught my dad has now rubbed off on me.”
Fred leaves behind four children, Wes, Barbara, Debbie and Beverley as well as 11 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren.