Alf's final bout
PUBLISHED: 02:01 10 April 2008 | UPDATED: 08:58 10 June 2010
EXMOUTH Amateur Boxing Club has lost one of its original members, following the death of Alf Page. Alf, 87, who died on March 24, was the club's first coach and chief second and took up the mantle after returning from service in the Second World War, w
EXMOUTH Amateur Boxing Club has lost one of its original members, following the death of Alf Page.Alf, 87, who died on March 24, was the club's first coach and chief second - and took up the mantle after returning from service in the Second World War, writes David Beasley.Born in 1920, he was the youngest member of a large Clyst St Mary family. He was one of 10 children, and was a twin - his twin Don having been born first.The family moved to Exmouth when he was three and they lived in Phear Avenue until after he served his apprenticeship as a bricklayer. He joined the Royal Artillery from 1939, serving with the Eighth Army in the North African theatre, Sicily and Italy.He was promoted to sergeant and fought in the battle of Monte Casino, a costly series of four engagements in 1944 fought by the Allies with the intention of seizing Rome.After he was demobbed, he considered staying in the army, but returned to bricklaying.He joined Exmouth ABC in 1947, then based at the old Territorial Army Drill Hall in Imperial Road, where he met his wife Peggy when her two brothers, John and Albert Froud, started boxing. They married in 1949.He trained countless local boxers - some of whom became regional and national champions.Former member of Exmouth ABC Gerry Butt, who fought as a middleweight in 1947, paid tribute to him, while one of those champions, Littleham's Mike Norrish, who won a slew of titles under his tutelage and was just 12 when he walked into the gym, said: "At one of the early tournaments, a judge asked Alf to go easy with the water as he had had water splashed over him at a previous tournament."Later, to the delight of the crowd, an Exmouth boxer getting into the ring kicked the bucket of water off the apron and over the judge."Alf was a smashing man who always turned out some excellent boxers in the late forties and early fifties."Alf and Peggy lived in Budleigh Salterton and later moved to Topsham, both joining the bowling club. He became a popular member of the British Legion - and, having a good voice, he often sang at functionsIn 2004, Alf and Peggy travelled to Monte Casino and spent time in the monastery, paying tribute to his lost colleagues - over 54,000 Allied and 20,000 German soldiers died there in 1944.Mike added: "He was highly thought of by his fellow trainers and his advice was always considered by all who came into contact with him."Alf leaves a wife, Peggy, and three children, Leonard, Jennifer and David.