A MOVING tribute has been paid to boxer Dale Lincoln from a mum whose heart he touched with his kindness.
Jean Costello was overwhelmed when, as a 19-year-old, Dale asked if he could fight in memory of her son, Stephen Heslop.
The 22-year-old, who was a boxer with Horsley Hill Amateur Boxing Club, had taken his own life at the same cliffs on Boxing Day, 2007, after being turned away from the Bede Wing mental health unit in South Shields.
He stole a taxi and drove to his death, after passing a self-harm assessment by medics at the unit.
In December 2012, Dale inspired as a youngster by Stephen’s approach to boxing, asked his family if he could fight in his memory.
Dale also wore a T-shirt featuring a picture of Stephen, who was known affectionately to his friends as ‘Dappa’, when he went into the ring in the Tyne and Wear title fight.
He went on to win the belt in the match, which was held at The Shack, in Boldon Colliery, to the delight of Stephen’s family and his fans.
Ms Costello, from Auckland Avenue, South Shields, said: “When Dale asked if he could wear a T-shirt in memory of Stephen for his fight – it just filled me with pride.
“There were a few years between Dale and Stephen, but he told me how he looked up to him as a boxer. I remember this was one of his big fights, so it really meant a lot to us as a family.
“To see him fighting in his memory was so emotional. It was just overwhelming.
“When he won the fight, the roof just lifted. It’s hard to explain how electrifying it was.
“That night is such a nice memory that I am now going to have of Dale to treasure forever, I’d just like to thank him from the bottom of my heart for giving me such a wonderful memory.”