RONNIE ROWE’S funeral took place on January 20 at St John’s Church in Birtley, and then at Birtley Crematorium. We set off for a ‘normal’ funeral but how wrong we were. The first realisation of this came as we passed the Birtley Community Fire Station – Ron had been a fireman – where two fire engines were parked on the forecourt and about 10 firemen were standing by the kerbside awaiting the cortège.

Not being quite sure where St John’s was, I asked a gentleman in the street for directions. His immediate reaction was, “Are you going to Ronnie Rowe’s funeral? He did so much for Birtley and, although I can’t get to the funeral, I’ve already paid my respects. He was a great man.”

When we got to the church, there was a huge crowd outside, with 25-30 firefighters forming a guard of honour. Inside it was standing room only; I’ve never been to a funeral quite like it. In the crowd outside there were numerous current and former boxers, many of whom had been trained by Ron, including Glenn McCrory. I thought that if a former world champion could stand outside then a former Area chairman certainly could!

Among the pall-bearers were trainer Gary Barr and former British cruiserweight champion Jon-Lewis Dickinson. It was a magnificent send-off for a superb man. David Venn

I RECENTLY read that Riddick Bowe is reportedly planning a comeback. Considering that he is over 50 and has not fought in more than 11 years, I think the last place he should be is in a boxing ring. If he does manage to get licensed, it will be wholly irresponsible by all concerned. The BBBofC, for example, would not dream of acting so flippantly, as they have recently proven in the similar case of Nigel Benn. Simon Collins

AS a fan of both boxing and music, I enjoyed the best boxing songs 10-Count in the January 23 issue. I’d only heard of the first two songs in your top 10 and find it hard to imagine a 27-minute song! A few other songs did come to my mind. Stand Up and Fight from Carmen Jones is my own personal favourite. There’s also Black Superman and Eye of the Tiger, and not forgetting the boxing musicals, Golden Boy and Bashville, and the 1963 radio ballad, The Fight Game. Mark Taha