Berry

The Berry Boys Amateur Boxing Club

by Mark Quirey

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Berry' page

The above cutting from the paper was when the newest gym was built in Valance way, and here is a quote from a good friend of mine who was also a very good boxer, Stuart St John

"I think we should all note the achievements and give him the credit he deserves, Ned Quirey the coach (my father) for not only building the club in his spare time, but for also creating one of most (possibly the most) successful boxing clubs in Essex.

In that picture alone there is an ABA champ, 2 times ABA finalist who was unfortunate not to win one of those and a school boy national finalist, plus there's the school boy national champion 2 years in a row, a couple of NABC National champions and junior ABA Champions.

1991, that was over 22 years ago and while most of us have left he is still there giving up free time to change boys lives for the better. I could not thank him enough for what he has done for me.

Ned Quirey you are the true champion of Berry ABC

I boxed for Berry Boy’s from the age of 10 to 27 before having two pro bouts and I am now coaching at Berry. I am still there with my Dad (head coach) Ned & Gary Steff a great coaching team. 

Due to a change in the Amateur boxing rules I will be returning to the ring for one final year for the ABA Championships, I reached the final in 1998 & 2000 with my good friend & club mate Stuart St John who won the Heavyweight title in 1999. Berry Boy’s has been to three ABA finals which I believe is more than any other Essex club. With my Dad Ned (head coach) and Gary Steff training me, I have every confidence this year will be the clubs 4th visit to the final & 2nd ABA Champion.

I'm trying to get in touch with as many of the guys through social media with regards to names etc, I have shared your article so hopefully some of the boys will be in touch.   Looking at the photo I am the second child to the left (same row) as Charlie Margi and my brother Finbarr is next to him on his right. 

Link to original article

This page was added by Ian Mott on 01/01/2014.
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Michael Murray, middle row third from left, is still boxing and appeared in a charity night in Grays late last year, winning comfortably on points. Not bad for somebody approaching 40. The fight can be viewed on: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=amPWc0lypWc&spfreload=10

By Paul Sargeant
On 12/01/2016

Great read, I attended both the Berry Boys Clubs but never actually boxed for them.  The old club on the other side of the tracks was the most old school boxing club I've ever been to.

I remember the gypsies living on the new road (Mandeville Way) and coming into the club regularly to spar in the late 80's. The club on Valence Way was 100 meters from my house and was great.

I was a school friend of Stuart St John and remember jumping on the Berry Boys coach going up to watch him win the ABA (what a night) great memories.

By Ian Mitchell
On 12/01/2015

Hi all, Mighty Mouse here (Finbarr). Just discovered this page and couldn't believe this picture was there. I remember it being taken and how chuffed we all were to be in the new gym after it was built. My fondest memories were in the old place, proper old school gym. Happy days. Hope all our old family are well and a big hello to the man 'Ned' we love ya boss

By Finbarr Murray
On 07/09/2014

Fred Nunn and the Berry Athletic Club have been mentioned several times in these archives but nothing, to my knowledge, of the why, who, and how of their founding. 

The story below was told to me by my cousin Tony Hall-Davies when I was with him a few years ago. Part of it I know personally to be factual but Tony fleshed out the story with details of which I was previously unaware.

Fred Nunn lived in "Virginia" at the junction of Berry Lane and Prescott Avenue. Tony and his immediate family lived with Tony's grandmother, a Mrs Collier, at the foot of Lincewood Park Drive off of Berry Lane. Tony and a small group of friends yearned for a boys club and, probably aware of Fred Nunn's experience, approached him and asked him to found a boys boxing club. The only other boy I know for a fact that was involved at this point was Kenny Cannon who lived on the corner of Shakespeare Avenue and Berry Lane. I would surmise that others might have included Billy Seagar who lived on the corner of Ferndale Avenue and Berry Lane, Sonny Barling who lived  where Berry Lane ceased to be a made up road and Les Whiskin. These boys were all Tony's age and a year or two older than I.

The earliest members, and Fred Nunn himself, were all from the Berry Lane area (as I was) and no doubt that is what decided the name of the club. I was only at the Berry Athletic Cub on one occasion, talked into it by Kenny Cannon. A single room (as I remember it), a church social hall or similar, somewhere down Northumberland Avenue or was it Elizabeth Drive? The year had to be 1946 because we moved from the Berry Lane area to King Edward Terrace in January 1947. Most of the single room was taken up by a boxing ring. Mr Nunn matched the boys by general age and weight. One three minute round was the rule. My single venture into the ring was against Kenny Cannon. In the first few seconds Kenny caught me with an almighty right hand to the solar plexus. Did that hurt! I spent the rest of the round on my bicycle and never ventured into the ring again.

How Fred Nunn financed the club in its initial period I do not know. Presumably the hall down Northumberland Avenue cost something, including building or buying the ring, the cost of boxing gloves etc. How these expenses were met I do not know.

Ian M: Alan the hall was in Elizabeth Drive as I too made a single visit with the Mills boys and although less damage decided it was not for me.

By Alan Davies
On 02/01/2014
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