Titan of Islington boxing community killed by Covid-19

Colin Webster. Picture: Islington Boxing Club

Colin Webster. Picture: Islington Boxing Club - Credit: Archant

Colin Webster, 75, was taken to Barnet Hospital after he awoke struggling to breath on Tuesday last week, and he died on Saturday.

Colin was a former coach and vice president at Islington Boxing Club in Hazellville Road, and news of his death has prompted an outpouring of grief on social media.

Colin was also heavily involved with Finchley Boxing Club, and he was a well-liked but no-nonsense bouncer at Opera House nightclub in Tottenham until he retired aged 65.

Colin’s son Danny told the Gazette the family weren’t allowed to go into hospital with him, adding: “He went in on his own and died on his own. When they told us they were going to turn the life-support off, under normal circumstances we could be there and tell him we loved him and held his hand one last time. [But] it was in a closed part of the hospital with no visitors allowed. It feels like we left him alone.”

Hospitals are trying to slow the spread of coronavius by restricting visits by patients with Covid-19, even if they are dying. Danny, who used to train at Islington Boxing Club and is a former ABA and ABC champion, added: “Unfortunately it’s going to be a bit of a pauper’s funeral. Him and my mum paid for their funerals years back, but we’re not allowed any cars, there’s only 10 people from the immediate family allowed to go, there is no flowers. We are going to drape an Islington boxing top on the coffin.”

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Social distancing rules mean the family cannot have a reception, but they’re planning “a big do” when the pandemic is over. Paying tribute to Colin, who grew up around Archway, Danny said: “He was a character, that’s for sure. He got on with everyone but there was no grey areas with my dad, if he wanted to say something he would say it to your face. Three years ago I got cancer and he paid my mortgage while I was ill. He had three grandchildren he always helped out, they are going to him dearly. He was a good, fun granddad.”

Colin is also survived by his wife Marion and daughter Kerry.

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Reggie Hagland, of Islington Boxing Club, added: “He wasn’t a drinker but he was the life and soul of the party that stood out from everyone else. A very funny person who would often have us in stitches just messing about. Colin will live on in our memories. A great character and a loss not only to our club but to Finchley.”

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