Boxing trainer Pat Benson celebrates 80th birthday
Highly regarded boxing trainer and mentor Pat Benson has endured many tumultuous highs and lows in an incredible 70 year boxing career. He first laced the gloves as a 10 year old in his home town of Ballyhaunis, progressing to win an Irish National Junior title before moving first to Coventry with late wife Teresa and then to his current home town Birmingham.
He has coached many young talents including World title challenger Matthew Macklin, Professional World Champion Wayne Elcock, National ABA Champions Mark and Paul Ramsey, Barcelona Olympian Rowan Williams and World Amateur Champion Frankie Gavin. Furthermore and arguably just as important, he has influenced and changed the lives of thousands of the communities most disaffected young people, setting them on the right paths, instilling life lessons including self esteem, self respect and social skills.
However, possibly his most inspiring achievement was his rise back to the pinnacle of the sport after losing his gym to a devastating fire in 2010. Along with his close friend the late Mick Burke, he rebuilt the club, which is now thriving. He has since won the BBC WM Unsung Hero award 2010 and most recently the BSA Birmingham Sports Coach of the Year 2014.
To celebrate his incredible achievements and his 80th birthday, a host of family and friends congregated at Casey Joe’s Bar on Sunday 16th November where The Lord Mayor of Birmingham Shafique Shah presented Pat with a lifetime award to services to the community and sport. Pat said, ‘I am honoured to see so many of my old boxers turn out alongside our young crop of athletes who are aiming to make a name for themselves in the sport in the years to come. To see different generations of club members come together is testimony to our coaches, staff and great reputation.’