Tributes paid to 'man of the people' and boxing guru Matty Payne, who died earlier this year
PUBLISHED: 12:33 06 April 2016 | UPDATED: 12:41 06 April 2016
Key sporting figures in Fenland have paid tribute to a former boxer, coach and sportsman, Matty Payne, who died earlier this year.
Mr Payne, described as a ‘man of the people,’ passed away whilst abroad in January, and leaves behind a legacy in the sport of boxing, which he was involved in for 65 years.
Payne grew up in Fenland, and joined Chatteris Amateur Boxing Club as a child, where he chalked up 300 amateur fights and a place in the junior Amateur Boxing Association (ABA) final.
Becoming a working, family man saw the end of Matty’s amateur boxing career, but his passion for the sport remained. Mr Payne became a trainer at the Black Horse Lane club, and supported dozens of boxers to prepare to compete and become responsible, respectful citizens within the community.
In 1998, Matty enrolled former Chatteris Boxer, Paul Gill to take over the role as trainer, and for the next 18 years they worked in partnership to build a hugely successful club.
Matty took on the role of club matchmaker and became responsible for every boxing match made for every Chatteris amateur boxer over the next 18years.
Although the role was challenging and time consuming, it was one Matty enjoyed. He also organised regular home shows to give the local boxers the opportunity to showcase their skills and make their community proud.
Over this time, successes of the club included approximately 50 Eastern county titles, four ABA senior and junior semi-finalists, two England Internationals, seven National finalists and two National titles.
One particular success story is 21-year-old Jordan Gill, who began his career at Chatteris ABC before embarking on a professional career which has seen him go 16 fights unbeaten.
Gill, nicknamed ‘The Thrill,’ said: “Matty was a true legend. He helped shape all the Fenland boxers’ lives today.”
Matty not only encouraged boxing training, but he also felt strongly about supporting the youngsters to develop the skills to become respectful members of their communities.
The club had good links with the British Legion, centre point and other community groups and in 2008, the club was recognised for its community work and invited to the HRH Queen’s Garden Party in recognition of their efforts.
Matty also took on roles within the broader boxing circle; he was a Mid-Anglia official and was respected as a knowledgeable, integral figure within the wider boxing community with many turning to him for advice and guidance.
Following Matty’s death, Paul Gill decided to step down as trainer at Chatteris ABC, saying that it “wouldn’t be the same” without him.
He said: “Essentially, he was a man of the people – a man who held family and community close to his heart and a man who leaves a huge void in many people’s lives.”