Glasgow & West Scotland

Celebrity support for Benny Lynch statue campaign

Benny Lynch Image copyright Mitchell Library

A civic reception has been held in Glasgow to help raise funds for a statue commemorating Scotland's first-ever world champion boxer, Benny Lynch.

He won the world flyweight title in 1935 at the age of 21 but died, aged 33, following a battle with alcoholism.

The Remember Benny Lynch Campaign, which counts actor Robert Carlyle as patron, is raising funds for a permanent memorial in his home city.

The reception was held at the City Chambers on Monday night.

Carlyle, who has expressed an interest in making a film about Lynch, said: " I've been an admirer of Benny Lynch for more years than I care to remember.

"He was a great hero of my father. My grandfather saw him fight on several occasions and the stories of his matches were passed on to my father, who passed them down to me.

"I've always loved the idea of a statue for Benny. I cannot think of anyone, past or present from the city of Glasgow who deserves it more."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Benny Lynch during his fight with Small Montana for the world flyweight title

Benny Lynch's son, Bobby, and his granddaughter, Sharon, who both live in Canada, made the trip to Glasgow for the civic reception.

Mr Lynch said: "My father was loved and admired by the citizens of this city and it means a lot to me and his legacy that the city is recognising his achievements after all these years.

"The level of support that this campaign has gained has been wonderful and to finally see a statue of my father in the city that he loved so much would be such an honour."

'Local hero'

The campaign is being supported by Glasgow Lord Provost Sadie Doherty, former world champion boxer Jim Watt and 2014 Commonwealth Games gold medallist boxer Charlie Flynn.

Provost Doherty said: "Like Benny Lynch, I grew up in the Gorbals where he's a local hero. So naturally, I'm delighted to lend my support to the Remembering Benny Lynch campaign."

An exhibition showcasing Lynch's 1937 World and European championship trophies, boxing gloves, a painting of the boxer by Glasgow artist Robert Millar and associated memorabilia were brought to the City Chambers for the event.

The exhibition was unveiled by Jim Watt at the Gorbals Library earlier this year, just streets from where Benny Lynch was born.

It was the first time both trophies have been on public show since the boxer's death in 1946.

Jim Watt said: "Benny is an inspiration to every sportsman who wore boxing gloves.

"He is a true Scottish hero and was our first world champion, proving to everyone that it could be done.

"A statue for Benny is long overdue and I will do everything I can to make it happen."

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