Colin Grainger

Olympic legend Terry Spinks is honoured by his home town




The gold medal winning boxing legend Terry Spinks has been given a permanent memorial in Newham to inspire future generations.​

The man whose image was used to motivate Team GB’s best-ever group of boxers for the London 2012 Games, has had his achievements recognised with the creation of Terry Spinks Place in Canning Town.

Family and friends of ‘Our Terry’, who died in April last year, were joined by future winners from his beloved West Ham Amateur Boxing Club to see the unveiling of the plaque and street sign which is now in place in the regenerated community space and gardens.

The man who could light up a room with his presence, was born in West Ham and grew  won gold in the flyweight division in 1956 at the summer Olympics in Melbourne, Australia after beating Romanian Mircea Dobrescu.
He was also British featherweight champion from 1960 to 1961 and 45 years after winning Olympic gold, Terry Spinks received an MBE in the Queen’s New Year honours.

Terry’s portrait was hung above the Sheffield training gym where the multi-medal-winning team trained ahead of London 2012 Games to inspire them. Boxing historians have described Terry as ‘one of the most accomplished fighters to come out of the East End’.

Sir Robin Wales, Mayor of Newham, said: “This is a proud moment, not only for the family and friends of Mr Spinks who join us today, but also for the borough of Newham and its residents past and present.

“It is important that while we look to the future and the regeneration of our borough we must also remember our rich history and celebrate those whose contribution to the borough fosters both inspiration and pride.

“That is why I believe it is a fitting tribute to Mr Spinks that his name will adorn an area close to his former home that will be transformed into a thriving place to live with hundreds of new homes, shops and a market square.

“Having Terry’s name displayed in his former home town will remind us all what can be achieved through aspiration and the support of your family, friends and neighbours. Terry Spinks showed us what true grit, determination and ambition can achieve. He is a great ambassador for Newham.”

Despite serious illness, Terry remained committed to supporting young boxers and offered advice to several generations of fighters.

His cousin Rosemary Ellmore, who took him into her home in Chadwell Heath and cared for him until his death 19 years later, unveiled the plaque.

She said: “This is a wonderful way to remember him. Terry’s name will live on and I hope what he did will inspire young people. Right through his life, he never forgot young people and did what he could to encourage them.”

Lianne Jameson, secretary of West Ham ABC, said: “He supported the club his whole life and would without fail attend dinner shows and presentations. Even through periods of ill health he would offer guidance to members.”

It was my honour to meet the little man with the big heart many times. If you were ever feeling down or fed up with something in life, just two minuutes in his company would make you smile and lift that weight. A special honour for a special man. And he would be chuffed to bits.


Picture: Terry Spinks / Newham Council

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This article was written on 06 Aug 2013, and is filed under Communities, East London, Newham, Newham Council, Olympics & Paralympics, Terry Spinks.

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