Obituary: ‘Ray of sunshine’ Joe Browne
PUBLISHED: 15:00 02 December 2014
Joe Browne, a former boxer turned passionate charity fundraiser, has died peacefully in his sleep after a long illness, aged 73.
The father of two worked as manager at the Cardinal Heenan Centre, in High Road, Ilford, for seven years after competing for near two decades for Five Star ABC boxing club in Gooshays Drive, Harold Hill.
His daughter Leona Browne, 29, of Brentwood, described him as “a ray of sunshine.”
She said: “He was a wonderful father - a lovely doting family man. He had a love of boxing too.”
Joe, also of Brentwood, once reached the semi-final of the ABA Championships where he lost to Chris Finnegan MBE, who became middleweight champion at the 1968 Olympics.
He fought alongside two of his brothers at the club. The trio were affectionately known as the “Browne boys”.
But in his later years he became known for his charitable exploits.
Joe received an award from the Mayor of Redbridge for his community work. “He will be sorely missed,” added Leona, who estimated her father raised more than a million pounds for charity.
Joe was married to his wife Denise for 32 years.
“It is difficult to lose your partner, he was with her for 35 years in all,” said Leona.
“But she is a strong woman. She gave up her job to care for dad during his illness for about six years.”
Last week’s funeral attracted more than 300 people at Brentwood Cathedral.
“He had such a large following, so many friends from all walks of life,” added Leona. “He knew a lot of people from the parish and charities that he fund raised for.”
Joe, who had six siblings – three brothers and three sisters – leaves behind his wife Denise, son Mathew and Leona.
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