Chadwell Heath former world boxing champ Colin McMillan recognised in New Year Honours
PUBLISHED: 09:00 29 December 2018
Former boxing world champion Colin McMillan has been awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) in the Queen's New Year Honours.
Colin, 52, who lives in Chadwell Heath, has been recognised for his more than 15 years supporting charities, in particular those helping disadvantaged young people.
“It is great to receive something of this magnitude,” he said.
Asked what motivates him, he added: “I have been really fortunate and lucky in life.
“But there are many children that have not had a great startI want to help them.”
Since hanging up his gloves in 1997, he has organised fundraisers supporting the Downs Syndrome Association, among other charities, where an event at West Ham United FC raised thousands of pounds.
In 2009, he became a patron of charity The Dream Factory, Fowler Road, Hainault, which helps brighten the lives of under 25s with life-threatening or life-limiting illnesses.
On December 21, Colin surprised pupils St John’s Primary School, in Turpins Lane, Woodford Green, by delivering gifts dressed as Santa Claus.
“When you are doing things like that and you see their faces and the happiness that comes, it is really special,” he said.
Colin attended Warren Comprehensive School, in Whalebone Lane North, Dagenham, and learned the ropes at Barking Boys Amateur Boxing Club aged 15. Eventually he went on to represent Team GB at the 1984 Olympics, defeated in the final round by Italy’s Maurizio Stecca.
But in 1992, he beat Maurizio at Alexandra Palace to become world featherweight champion - a moment he considers a career highlight.
“As a young child my dream was to do that,” he said.
“I wanted to follow in the footsteps of Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Leonard.”
In 2013, Colin set up his own boxing academy at Redbridge Sports Centre, running training sessions at schools across east London.
“I realise the importance of boxing in keeping kids off the street,” he said.
“I think boxing is a great sport because you learn about self-confidence.
“It keeps you motivated and It keeps you fit.
“For some kids, if you are quite aggressive you can channel it in a positive way.
“You are all part of a family.”