Two descendants of England bare-knuckle champion boxer Ben Caunt attended a special service at St Mary Magdalene Church, Hucknall, last Sunday.
They were Ben’s great-granddaughter, Eileen West (85), and his great-great-granddaughter, Julia West. Both live in Hucknall..
The service, which commemorated the 200th anniversary of Caunt’s birth, included a wreath-laying ceremony at the boxer’s tomb in the churchyard.
The Rev Sergiy Diduk, a curate at St Mary Magdalene and an ex-amateur boxer, conducted the service and Ken Robinson, chairman of Hucknall Tourism and Regeneration Group, gave a eulogy.
Coun John Wilmott, a Hucknall member of Ashfield District Council and Notts County Council, read a poem entitled ‘The Title Fight’ by Clive Brookes, of Mansfield, who was at the service.
Also present was Steve Ward (58), of Mansfield, who is the world’s oldest still active professional boxer. He said: “Ben Caunt has been an inspiration to me. It is lovely that people have turned up today to pay their respects to him.”
Ben was born on 22nd March 2015 in Newstead, which was then part of Hucknall, and his parents were tenants of the poet Lord Byron.
A well-attended talk about his life was given at Hucknall Library last Saturday by James Walker, literary editor of Nottingham’s Leftlion magazine.
Big Ben, the nickname for the great bell of the clock at the Palace of Westminster, is claimed to have been named after Caunt. But in view of a decision to rename the clock tower the Elizabeth Tower and a suggestion for the Royal Mint to produce a Big Ben coin not materialising, the boxer was in danger of being ‘erased from history’, said another of his descendants, Steven West.