Tributes have been paid to Crawley Boxing Club stalwart Roger Pearce, who died last week aged 81 after a long illness.
Roger moved to Crawley in 1958 and became a coach at the old Station Way boxing gym in 1972, training hundreds of the town’s youngsters to box up until the mid-1980’s, known as ‘the glory years’.
He then went on to become a respected judge and timekeeper with the Sussex Amateur Boxing Association.
In 1979 Roger donated a trophy to the club which became known as ‘The Roger Pearce Points Cup’. The trophy is competed for by all the boxers at the club earning points for each win throughout the season. The list of winners reads like a Who’s Who of Crawley boxing history.
Two years ago, after the trophy ran out of space to engrave the names of the winners – the club donated it back to Roger to keep and there is now a new cup which still bears his name.
After leaving the sport and spending more time on bowls and golf, Roger was still a familiar face, volunteering at club events and assisting his wife Shirley, who remained as club treasurer for over 30 years.
Former club chairman Geoff Hopcraft said: “Roger was a good friend for over 35 years – a club stalwart, a sportsman, and a gentleman. RIP.”
Sussex Ex-Boxers spokesman and a former boxer who was coached by Roger, Leigh Crompton, said: “He was one of the foremost coaches along with Kevin Aves in the late 70’s and the pair of them brought Crawley back to its former glory after a transitional period.
"A genuine nice guy who went on to become a well respected ABA judge. He will be sorely missed.”
Roger’s funeral will be held at the Surrey and Sussex Crematorium on Friday, January 25 at 3.45pm.