Sir Henry Cooper's boxing gloves were sold for £1,800 as part of an auction that was held at a Sportsman's Dinner at Leicester Tigers on Thursday 30th March 2017.
The gloves were used in a European Heavyweight Title fight in Rome in 1969 where Sir Henry beat Piero Tomasoni in 5 rounds. The gloves have been recently brought together with Sir Henry's autograph and the newspaper articles surrounding the fight by its donator, Mark Pierpoint a local Freemason. Mark's dad, Ray Pierpoint who was also a Freemason in Kent, was given the gloves by Stan Green, who was part of the Cooper camp, as a token of appreciation to Ray who was an amateur MC.
Mark said: "They sat in the lounge on Dad's bar for many years until he passed away when they were put away in a cupboard. I have donated them to the Masonic Charitable Foundation in his memory recognising his love of both boxing and Freemasonry."
The gloves were part of a larger sports memorabilia auction hosted by former England cricketer Ed Giddins at the dinner which included a wheel from Nigel Mansell's Formula 1 car, a football signed by Pele and Chris Froome’s Yellow Jersey from the Tour de France.
The total amount raised at the auction for the Masonic Charitable Foundation was over £30,000. Leicestershire and Rutland Freemasons aim to raise £1.8million in the next five years to support the charity which recently has donated £4,000 to the Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Rutland Air Ambulance, £8,000 to local hospices and £97,000 for medical research at the University of Leicester.
The dinner, which was attended by over 640 members and friends, is part of a number of events held by Leicestershire and Rutland Freemasons to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the formation of the Grand Lodge of England in 1717.
Many Freemasons have an interest in sports particularly rugby which has seen the recent formation of the Light Blues Rugby Club, based at Vipers RFC, which plays in the Leicestershire Rugby Union.
The After Dinner speaker for the evening was former England rugby player and TV pundit Brian Moore who entertained the diners for nearly an hour with some special anecdotes around his former playing days. The MC for the evening was former England hockey coach, Roger Dakin who was similarly as entertaining.
Provincial Grand Master of the Leicestershire and Rutland Freemasons, David Hagger said: “We have started our Tercentenary celebrations in style with this wonderful and unique charity event which was a tremendously enjoyable evening. I'm thrilled that we have raised so much for the Masonic Charitable Foundation which makes a major contribution to society through donations to most UK charities and worldwide disaster relief funds."