Tribute to Joe Lee and John Gray

September 7, 2023 | by Nabillah Akhtar


Two longstanding coaches of Hastings West Hill Boxing Club sadly passed away within hours of each other during August.

Ex Hastings West Hill boxer and the first National Schoolboy champion at age 11, Joe Lee lost his battle with Motor Neurone Disease on August 11th. Over his 55 + years as a coach Joe trained, cornered and produced many champions and semi-finalists. Supporting the boxers inside and outside of the ring, always the most pleasant and quietly spoken man, Joe was able to get the best out of his boxers with his gentle manner.

Ex West Hill boxer John Gray passed away on the 12th of August to long standing health complications. After hanging up his gloves, John started coaching in 1964, John’s ability to make all boxers feel at ease with his wit and humour made even the darkest depths of a boxer’s time in the ring something to hold on to and gave them the drive to keep going. Always known as the heart of the West Hill, John’s achievements saw him coaching many finalists and champions over his 55+ years as coach.

Both men, each with different qualities helped to put the Hastings West Hill Boxing Club on the map and helped so many boxers, inside and outside of the gym, both men who gave so much of their time for nothing in return other than the love of the sport and the club have left a huge hole that will never be filled, two men that will never be seen in this lifetime or club again.