Tributes paid to 'true gent' Gary, a Norwich amateur boxing legend

Amateur boxing legend Gary Ibbotson pictured with the Norwich Lads Club bell

Amateur boxing legend Gary Ibbotson pictured with the Norwich Lads Club bell - Credit: Maria Banbury

Hundreds of people lined the streets of Norwich to pay tribute to a much-loved figure in the amateur boxing community. 

More than 300 people turned out to give "true gentleman" Gary Ibbotson a fitting send off as his wake made its way down Gentleman's Walk to a service at St Peter Mancroft Church last week. 

His sister Maria Banbury said her brother was a "true gent with a kind heart", adding: "When you think of Norwich, you think of Gary."

Gary Ibbotson in his boxing gear

Gary Ibbotson in his boxing gear - Credit: Maria Banbury

Ms Banbury said: "We were born in Kent and then moved to Norwich. He spent some time living in Braintree and then moved in with my mum and I when he was 13.

"We were so close growing up - people used to think we were twins. We never argued like brothers and sisters often do.

"When we were growing up we used to swim with the Norwich Penguins - he was good at all sports. 

Hundreds of people lined the streets of Norwich to pay tribute to Gary Ibbotson

Hundreds of people lined the streets of Norwich to pay tribute to Gary Ibbotson - Credit: Archant

"He got into boxing when he moved to Norwich as a teenager. He always loved being involved with the likes of the Norwich Lads Club. 

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"Boxing was one of his loves but he also loved this city. He knew every stall holder on the market, they were his friends."

Mr Ibbotson first began his career by working around boxing rings and then moved into a heath and safety job offshore. 

Gary in the ring

Gary in the ring - Credit: Maria Banbury

He later opened a gardening business and could often be spotted tending to the gardens at St Peter Mancroft Church in the city centre. 

Mr Ibbotson married Teresa Godfrey in 1985 and had three children: Darren, Laura and Daniel. 

He then met partner Joanne Clifton and had his daughter Maddie. 

He also leaves behind nine grandchildren and two great grandchildren. 

"His family was the apple of his eye," Ms Banbury, who lives in Mulbarton, said.  

She added: "When he died I had to contact boxers across the world who he had worked with.

"He had a great sense of humour, he brought so much love and laugher to people's lives. 

Gary Ibbotson with his sister Maria

Gary Ibbotson with his sister Maria - Credit: Maria Banbury

"He loved nature too. He was always walking on Mousehold Heath with his pug Rocky. He also loved marine life - he was a fan of deep diving - and especially loved dolphins and otters," she added.  

Mr Ibbotson, who lived in the Golden Triangle, died aged 63 following a collision with a double-decker bus at Framingham Pigot on the A146 near Trowse on October 13.

Ms Banbury added: "It was very difficult losing him in the way that we did but we're trying to focus on the happy memories. 

"One of the last times I saw him we went to a Motown concert down by the river - he absolutely loved that and Northern Soul music, and the people we used to see there.

"He made lifelong friends in the community from his Northern Soul days back in the 1970s, he was so happy when he was there. 

"I remind myself he's with my mum, Hazel Ibbotson, now." 

Gary Ibbotson was a West Ham fan

Gary Ibbotson was a West Ham fan - Credit: Maria Banbury

She added: "He was a massive West Ham fan and they haven't lost since he died.

"He'd be absolutely thrilled if he could see how they've been playing recently, he wouldn't have believed it."

His funeral saw hundreds of people cram into the St Peter Mancroft Church. 

"Somehow someone managed to source a bell - I believe from the Norwich Lads Club - the one that's rung at the end of bouts. 

Gary with his eldest daughter Laura and his youngest daughter Maddie

Gary with his eldest daughter Laura and his youngest daughter Maddie - Credit: Joanne Clifton

"It was rung and all the boxers in the church stood up and gave a salute, it was a lovely touch. He absolutely loved the St Peter Mancroft Church too. 

"Then we went down to the market square and said a few words outside the stalls, he had so many good friends there that it seemed a fitting thing to do," she added. 

Gary celebrates at a West Ham game

Gary celebrates at a West Ham game - Credit: Maria Banbury


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