GOLDEN Star ABC is mourning the loss of one of its founding fathers.
Joey Hennessey died just short of his 75th birthday and the club’s 50th anniversary, due to be celebrated in 2010, a year after emigrating to Thailand.
A former army bantamweight boxing champion with the King’s Regiment, Hennessey, who lived in Stoke Gardens until last year, teamed up with Billy Hickman to start up the Golden Star.
“He and Billy were like Siamese twins,” said Golden Star’s current head coach Carl Teasdale.
“Later they joined up with Charlie Beswick, who is still involved with the club today, to build the foundations of the Port’s oldest boxing club. Joey’s loss is a sad one for all of us.”
Hennessey decided to move to Thailand following the death of his wife.
Before he left, Golden Star ABC had a big send-off for him where some of the boxers he once trained returned to say goodbye.
It was here that the current members of the club made him honorary president and named one of their annual trophies in his honour.
Sadly earlier this year Joey was diagnosed with eye cancer and, although doctors were able to cure the condition, in recovery a blood clot formed which proved fatal.
His family have flown out to the Far East for a funeral ceremony with the family of his new wife, whom he married after flying out there, before bringing some of his ashes home for a ceremony here, with the Golden Star ABC.
“He just fell short of the Golden Star’s golden anniversary,” said Carl. “It is so sad.
“He wouldn’t have been able to make it in person but to have known we were marking the event, to know that something he had created and made a success had reached such a landmark, it would have been great.
“It is a great loss to the club, those who have left who were trained by him will miss him and the youngsters we have here today will miss him because they know their club’s history and they are proud of it.”