‘True champ’ loses fight with cancer

A BOXING coach was sent an inspirational message of support from fight legend Lennox Lewis just hours after losing his cancer fight.

Retired heavyweight champion Lewis had heard about Alan Robinson’s battle with liver cancer and a brain tumour after being contacted on social networking site Facebook by the coach’s friend, Michelle Robinson.

Lewis, who famously knocked out Mike Tyson in 2002, replied: “It takes a special person to give of himself to others, even as he fights some of the biggest battles in his own life.

“The personal rewards of such selflessness are in knowing that a difference has been made.

“For that, I salute you Alan.

“You are a Champ in every sense of the word. Bless - LL”.

Alan, 64, died on Saturday, March 19, after a four-year battle with liver cancer and just three weeks after receiving the devastating news he also had a brain tumour.

His son, also called Alan, said: “We also received a message from the Sunderland boxer Tony Jeffries.

“It’s just a testament to what my dad put into the sport over the years.

“He was active all the way to the end with boxing.”

Alan coached for Hartlepool Boys’ Welfare Amateur Boxing Club, in Wiltshire Way, from 1986 to 1988 under head coach Peter Cope at a time of a boxing boom which nurtured young fighters including Alan Temple, Kevin McKenzie and John Kelly.

In more recent years, he had set up Tootill Amateur Boxing Club, in Trimdon Station, where he has helped scores of boys and young men to success.

Alan, of Trimdon Village, set up the club in memory of Royal Marine David Tootill, 29, who was killed in a road smash near the village in November 2008.

Alan had battled back from a stroke in 2005 and also fought off MRSA after a routine hip operation, where he spent 11 months in isolation at the University Hospital of North Tees, in Stockton.

But three months later, in late 2007, he was diagnosed with liver cancer.

Alan junior, 38, said chemotherapy wasn’t strong enough for the cancer and his dad opted to have the tumour removed in a nine-hour operation at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital 18 months ago.

But it was a slow-growing tumour and there was further heartache when Alan was diagnosed with a brain tumour earlier this month.

Alan also leaves behind wife Ethelwyn, 65, son Brian, 35, daughter Sharon Carr, 40, and grandchildren Daniel, Nolan, Matthew, Leah and Daniel.

As well as the Hartlepool and Trimdon boxing clubs, Alan had also been involved in coaching and boxing at the South Durham, Fishburn and Blackhall Amateur Boxing Clubs and Spennymoor Boxing Academy, and helped nurture the talents of Olympian Bradley Saunders, from Sedgefield.

His funeral will take place on Monday at St Mary Magdalene Church, in Front Street South, Trimdon Village, at 2.30pm.