Lancaster’s last existing link with pre-war professional boxing was broken last week when former boxer George Leathers passed away after a short illness at the age of 92.
A former member of the Skerton stable of boxers run by local manager Gus Angus, George turned professional in 1939 just after his 17th birthday and received the sum of seven shillings and sixpence (37 and a half pence) for his first professional bout over four rounds.
He also became a regular sparring partner to Lancaster’s star bantamweight of the day Tucker Smith, something which George was rightly proud of.
The outbreak of World War Two the same year interrupted George’s boxing career and although he subsequently boxed whilst serving in the Royal Navy a weight increase of over three stones had ended his pre-war ambitions as a budding flyweight.
Even so George never lost his love of boxing and he was featured in the Lancaster Guardian last year when a group photo of the Gus Angus boxers was published and the photo included George, who was by then residing in a Morecambe care home.
Possessed of an outstanding memory he was not only able to identify virtually everyone else in the photo but was of enormous help to local boxing historian Larry Braysher, who was at the time was currently researching a book about the local boxers from the Bay area.
George occupied a unique position in local boxing history as he was the last surviving licenced professional boxer who had been active prior to the Second World War.
In these days an achievement that nationwide would have included only a handful of men.