England Boxing Annual Awards 2023 – Lifetime Achievement Award
July 8, 2023 | by Chris Boyd
In the lead-up to the inaugural England Boxing Annual Awards 2023, set to take place at the Royal Victoria Hotel in Sheffield on Thursday 13th July, we will be shining a spotlight on the nominees from each of the 10 categories.
This piece will highlight the excellent work done by the three nominees for the Lifetime Achievement (25+ years) category.
(Nominees will be addressed in forename alphabetical order).
Mick Taylor – Cambridgeshire Police
The final line of the England Boxing criteria for the Lifetime Achievement award states: “Whoever they are, they have dedicated their lives to amateur boxing.
That statement certainly stands for the three nominees of this esteemed category.
Mick Taylor founded his boxing club, Cambridgeshire Police, which recently celebrated its 50th anniversary.
Despite 50 years of service, Mick continues to drive the club forward, attending sessions and organising home shows – even throughout spells of poor health.
In that time, it’s safe to say that Mick has saved countless youths from a life of crime, instead teaching them the discipline of boxing, and gaining respect from the parents of the young people he’s saved:
“Michael has changed the lives of my sons. They’re now 19 years old, fit, happy and confident.
“Michael is and always has been a fantastic role model and because of him, one of my sons is now training to be a coach.”
Throughout the nominations, the repeating factors revolve around, saving lives, being a mentor and being a fantastic role model.
His impact on the local community and amateur boxing is encapsulated perfectly in the nomination card of one club member:
“Mick saved me from a life of crime.
“He taught me that my actions had consequences and together he helped me overcome my anger issues.
“He’s a hero of the area and has saved countless individuals from Oxmoor. The man has no idea of the impact he has had and his dedication to the sport and helping others drives him forward.
“There are hundreds of amazing coaches out there, but there’s only one Mick Taylor – a man who has devoted his life to his community and boxing.”
Norman Close – Grainger Park
Grainger Park, in the Tyne, Tees & Wear region, is home to another individual who has devoted their life to the sport of boxing.
Norman Close is over 80 years old, yet you’ll still find him officiating shows on a weekly basis in the Tyne, Tees & Wear region with the same love and passion he’s always shown them.
From the first day he stepped into a boxing gym as a teenager, Norman has given his life to the sport. He has gone on to coach, referee, officiate and even host the great Muhammed Ali at Grainger Park in the 1970s.
From that day until now, Norman continues to officiate and fulfil his duties as a Tyne, Tees & Wear committee member with the same smile, honesty, and integrity he has always shown.
The mother of one club member said:
“My little girl is disabled and always attends shows in the region. Every show Normal will go out of his way to see her and he always has sweets for her.
“He’s given so much to the sport and I think it would be amazing to honour him with this award.
“He’s truly one of a kind.”
Paddy Harmey – Crawley
From one stalwart at the top of the country to another in the south, the Lifetime Achievement category shows the strength in depth of England’s coaching.
Paddy Harmey has been involved in coaching boxing for over 48 years.
The Irishman emigrated to England as a youngster and found himself at Crawley ABC, 28 miles south of London.
Since that day, Harmey has gone on to change the lives of thousands of individuals throughout the amateur boxing landscape.
Paddy has been the head coach of the Southern Counties, been part of the England Performance team and has helped the Jordan National Squad.
The number of lives Paddy has touched is immeasurable, with his nearly 50 years of service helping hundreds of coaches and thousands of boxers develop from novices to experts.
One club member wrote: “He continues to coach to this day.
“He’s had a massively positive impact on the local community and lots of people involved in boxing.”