Henry Cooper
The Cooper twins, Henry and George, Bellingham’s favourite sons, signing professional contracts with Jim Wicks in July 1954. Sports commentators Peter Dimmock and Harry Carpenter acted as witnesses

Sir Henry Cooper OBE
1952 Helsinki Olympics

Henry Cooper was born on 3rd May 1934 in Farmstead Road, Bellingham. He attended Athelney Road School with his twin brother George and both brothers joined Bellingham amateur boxing club. He won the Amateur Boxing Association light-heavyweight champion title in 1952 at the age of just 17 and was picked to compete for Great Britain in the Helsinki Olympics the same year in the men's light-heavyweight. Cooper was defeated in his opening contest by the eventual bronze medallist, Perov of the USSR. He turned professional in 1954 and was the only British boxer to win 3 Lonsdale Belts. His 2 fights with Cassius Clay/Muhammad Ali in 1963 and 1964 were among the highlights of his career. Henry was voted BBC sports personality of the year in 1967 and 1970. He was knighted for his contribution to boxing in 2000.

Henry Cooper died aged 76 on 1st May 2011.

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