‘We are forever grateful to him’ – Islington remembers founder of boxing club
Family and friends join members of Islington Boxing Club for moving farewell to Ron Hagland
16 April, 2018 — By Emily Finch
Friends and family of Ron Hagland pay their respects at the boxing club
THERE was a long round of applause as dozens gathered to mourn the founder of Islington Boxing Club on Friday.
Ron Hagland, who launched the Upper Holloway club in 1974, died last month after suffering from pneumonia. He was 86 years old.
A funeral cortege left from the club in Hazellville Road and made its way to St Marylebone Crematorium in East Finchley for a memorial service.
Mr Hagland’s friends and family remembered the man who helped change the lives of thousands of youngsters in the borough during a raucous wake at Forty Hall in Enfield.
“He was a brilliant fellow,” said Stanley Hanson, a former boxer and coach at the club.
“The club has come a long way thanks to Ron. We are like family members and I loved Ron. I owe him a lot, he gave me a job.”
Mr Hagland’s grandson Reggie Hagland and Sabrina Edwards: ‘We are forever grateful to him’
Sabrina Edwards, 39, the first woman to join the club committee, recalled one of the last times she saw Mr Hagland during a trip to Clacton-on-Sea in Essex with some of the club’s young members.
She said: “He loved the club so much and loved what we did with the kids, teaching them boxing and taking them to the seaside. We wouldn’t be doing this if it wasn’t for him. We are forever grateful to him. What he did has saved a lot of kids’ lives by giving them a home.”
Mr Hagland and his wife Maureen on their wedding day
Club coach Danny Hoy, 59, said Mr Hagland was a great person to be around.
He added: “If he had run for prime minister he would have got it. He created a family and not just a gym.”
Mr Hagland had retired from running the club in 2000 but remained an honorary secretary and treasurer until two years ago.
From left: Stanley Hanson, Damien Noonan, Lenny Hagland and Craig Mcgrath
He had answered an advert in a newspaper to help set up an amateur boxing club in King’s Cross to help him cope with a loss in his family.
Ron Hagland at the boxing club
The club moved to its current premises in 1981 after a stretch at the Sobell Centre in Hornsey Road. Membership has bloomed and the club was awarded a long lease from the Town Hall earlier this year, securing its future.