Torbay is saying a sad farewell to outstanding local boxer and cherished family man, Jim Banks, who has died at the age of 73.
Born in Torquay, Jim lived here all his life and was one of nine children. He was a student of Torquay Boys Grammar School, and worked as an accountant after studying at South Devon Technical College.
Jim and wife of 49 years, Val, had three daughters, Rachel, Kate and Anna, but in his spare time, the calculator was replaced by boxing gloves, as Jim won many honours in the sport, including West of England Champion, Devon Dorset and Cornwall Champion, Junior ABA semi-finalist, ABA finalist, and won 225 of his 275 fights.
“Jim worked for Western Fuel and also the Mid-Devon District Council for the last 22 years of his accountancy career,” said Val.
“We’ve had so many kind comments from people, Jim was well-respected and loved by everyone, a true gentleman.”
His boxing life started as a child because his father Syd was a boxing trainer and Jim had his first fight at the age of ten. He fought at the Royal Albert Hall and latterly in 1969, he fought John H. Stracey (who went on to become World Champion) at Wembley in the Light Welterweight ABA Finals.
Jim was a very mild-mannered man, who just loved boxing. He had lifelong connections with the Torquay Amateur Boxing Club, working as the Treasurer and President.
Jim’s great friend and life President of Torquay United, Ian Hayman, was another to pay tribute to a hugely popular man, who also enjoyed football and golf alongside his boxing exploits.
“I first met Jim in the late 1960s and he played local football for Watcombe Villa,” said Hayman. “We also played together at Babbacombe Rangers but his sporting achievements were best known in the boxing ring.
“Jim was an absolute gentleman and very loyal to his family and friends. He will be greatly missed by everyone and all our love goes to Val, his daughters and grandchildren – he was so proud of them.”
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