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Freedom for “Dai”

Written by on 18th November 2016

A special event has taken place to posthumously confer the Freedom of the County Borough in memory of champion boxer, the late David William Dower MBE.

The event took place at Abercynon Community School on Friday (November 18th), attended by family members and invited guests.

Welsh boxing legend David ‘Dai’ Dower passed away earlier this year at the age of 83.

The Freedom of the County Borough, bestowed by Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council, is only ever presented to distinguished individuals and groups.

Past recipients have included;

  • Tunisia terror attack survivor Mathew James,
  • The South Wales Miners,
  • Tenor Stuart Burrows,
  • The Royal Welsh Regiment,
  • Author and playwright, the late Elaine Morgan OBE,
  • Nos Galan Road Races founder Bernard Baldwin MBE
  • … and The Welsh Guards.

Born on June 20, 1933, David William Dower – or Dai as he became known – is one of the most successful Welsh boxers of all time and even though he retired from the sport over 50 years ago, his name is still synonymous with boxing.

Having lived in Bournemouth for many years, Dai remained so proud of his roots and was delighted when David Dower Close, Abercynon, was named in his honour.

Cllr Rhys Lewis, Mayor of Rhondda Cynon Taf, said:

“I am delighted Rhondda Cynon Taf Council is to posthumously confer the Freedom of the County Borough in memory of Dai Dower – a name synonymous with the sport of boxing and the community of Abercynon, where he was born and lived – a place that forever held a special place in his heart.

“As a local boy, I grew up listening to stories of Dai Dower’s boxing achievements and prowess.

“Plans were in place to confer the Freedom of Rhondda Cynon Taf upon him this year. Sadly the honour will now be bestowed posthumously.

“On behalf of the residents of Rhondda Cynon Taf, I would like to express our most sincere condolences to the family of Dai Dower who will be joining us to celebrate his life and sporting achievements.”

After becoming Amateur Boxing Association flyweight champion at a young age, Dai Dower was selected to represent Great Britain at the 1952 Olympic Games, held in Helsinki.

He turned professional in 1953 and became British Flyweight Champion, British Empire Champion and European Flyweight Champion before retiring from professional boxing.

In later life, he became Head of Sport at Bournemouth University, a post held for 21 years, and in June 1998 was awarded the MBE.

He enjoyed a happy retirement with his family in Bournemouth but sadly passed away on August 1, 2016, at the age of 83.

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