Boxer's birthday gift to hospice

KINDHEARTED boxing champion Carl Crook threw a huge 40th birthday bash but turned down presents in favour of donations to a children's hospice

Father-of-two Carl, of Ashfield Road, Chorley, celebrated his personal milestone with a party in Chorley Town Hall's Lancastrian Suite.

The function was also marking the 50th birthday of Carl's friend Bob Baker, a former boxer from Bamber Bridge and now living in Euxton.

Almost 400 guests, including friends, family and old boxing colleagues of both Carl and Bob turned out for the bash.

Carl, who formerly served in the Parachute Regiment, was also re-united with several ex-paras.

And to mark the special event, both boxing buddies asked everybody to contribute to children's hospice Derian House rather than fork out for cards and presents.

They took a bucket and collection tins full of cash to Derian House after 800 was raised, but contributions are still coming in.

Carl, who won both the British and Commonwealth lightweight championship titles in 1990, is no stranger to charity work.

He has previously taken part in a sponsored skipping event organised by members of Chorley's St James' Church to raise cash for re-housing Romanian street children.

He also got involved in a walk raising money for St Catherine's Hospice in Lostock Hall.

Carl, who has his own window cleaning business in Chorley, thanked guests for turning up and contributing to the needy cause.

He said: "It was a really splendid 'do.' The Lancastrian Suite holds about 400 people and was absolutely packed.

"A lot of good friends and boxers, amateur and professional, came along. Some ex-paras turned up as well which was great."

He added: "The night was for Bob as well as myself, he's a very good friend who I met through boxing.

"We are both big advocates for Derian House and that's why we wanted to raise money for them.

"People could have spend an awful lot of money on cards and presents but we didn't want that. We are pleased to have raised quite a bit of cash."

Carl also wished to thank caterers Astley Catering for their contributions on the night.