Glowing tributes paid to Chichester boxing legend Jack

Chichester boxing legend Jack Hood has died.

Friday, 26th February 2021, 12:42 pm
Jack Hood receives a top Rotary award from Chi Priory Rotary president Peter Haydn Jones
Jack Hood receives a top Rotary award from Chi Priory Rotary president Peter Haydn Jones

He passed away in St Richards hospital after having a heart attack. He was 88.

Jack affected the lives of many young people during his 66-year association with Chichester Boys’ Club, through the boxing and youth clubs.

Jack started boxing at school at the age of 11 and joined the Boys’ Club’s boxing section as soon as he was 14.

Jack coaching at Chichester Boys' Club in the 1960s

During his competitive boxing career he had over 120 bouts and lost just ten.

He was a British semi-finalist on two occasions at junior and senior levels and during his eight-year Royal Navy career he won the welterweight championship of the Mediterranean Fleet.

Jack returned to the Boys’ Club after his service in the Royal Navy, which was a golden era for the boxing section, with such excellent boxers as John White, Mick Flynn, Bruce Woodcock, Norman Millyard and Charlie Munro.

It was also a time to work alongside some great people who helped to make the Boys’ Club a safe haven for young people, such as Bassil Shippam, Jack Greenfield and Martin Phillmore, who were all very supportive of the positive effects boxing had on young people.

Jack pictured last year

In 1967 Jack was asked by the head coach, Arthur Preston, if he would like to help out as an assistant coach on Thursday evenings.

Jack jumped at the chance, not realising that Arthur was planning to retire at the end of 1967.

That started a 25-year period as head coach for Jack, during which time Paul Forbes became ABA middleweight champion and; Gary Booker became Southern Counties senior middleweight champion.

Other excellent boxers were John Rice, Scott Eames, Jon Mills, Phil Osgood, Tim and Paul Hope, Jeremy Laming, Danny Hall, Billy O’Brien, Greg Evans, Ollie Thorpe, and Gerry Holland.

Jack coaching 60-odd years ago

He also had fond memories of the great coaches he worked with such as Heath O’Brien, Frank Johnson, Norman Millyard, Jimmy Cairnes, Arthur Preston and Paul Milliard, some of whom are still involved with the sport.

When Jack finally stepped back from his coaching commitments he took on the role of chairman, honorary secretary and treasurer of the boxing section, which wasn’t as easy as it sounds.

It was during a turbulent period for amateur boxing which was getting bad publicity caused by the professional side of the sport.

At one stage the boxing club was not part of the Boys’ Club activities, but Jack, through hard work and determination, managed to get it reinstated.

Jack was also helping out at the youth club and could be seen at boxing shows, well into his 80s, working as the glove man.

It was at one such show in 2015 where he was working as glove man (at the age of 83), when he was asked over the PA system to ‘report to ringside’.

In the centre of the ring, in front of an audience of 300 people, he was presented with a Paul Harris Fellowship (the highest award in Rotary Club circles for service to the community) by the President of the Rotary Club of Chichester Priory, Peter Haydn-Jones.

It was a complete surprise to Jack but well deserved.

Jack was always a very mild and polite man (as long as you didn’t meet him in the ring!) who was an excellent role model for young people.

Jack will be missed by many people in Chichester and the surrounding area and could be summed up in a short saying: “A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove ...... but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child.”