THE devastated coach of a talented young boxer who died in a seafront tragedy has today paid a warm tribute to the fighter he has described “as like a son.”
Steve Winter has been left devastated by the death of one of his most talented boxers Dale “the kid” Lincoln.
Dale, who had just turned 21 and was looking forward to the imminent arrival of his new child, was found at the bottom of cliffs near to the Marsden Grotto pub, shortly after 10am on Monday morning.
Emergency services had earlier been called to the scene after reports that a car had been found on the beach having gone over the top of the cliffs.
Since his death, social networking site Facebook has been inundated with tributes to the much-loved member of Horsley Hill Amateur Boxing Club, from heartbroken family and friends.
Today, his coach has paid tribute to the talented boxer whose drive and passion for the sport saw him inspire younger members of the club.
Steve said: “We are all absolutely heartbroken by the loss of Dale.
“He was a talented boxer, a fine young man from a loving family who I have known for a lot of years.
“We are just devastated – he was a great kid with a heart of gold.
“I’m close to all the kids at the club, but Dale – he has been with me since he was eight years old, and hand on heart, was like my surrogate son and I loved him like one.
“I had Dale all over the country boxing or he’d be there supporting the other lads, he was always a joy to be with.
“He had so much to live for, so many plans that he had.
“He was only telling me on Thursday how much he was looking forward to fighting at our home show in November.
“It is just so tragic. He has left such a huge void in everyone’s life – he made such an impact on everyone he met, no more so than in the boxing community where he was loved and looked up to – it’s devastating.
“If I had a spare ticket to watch Newcastle United, I would take him with me. I loved his company and we used to have a great laugh.
“I will always remember my two sons would say ‘are you taking your son Dale to the match?’.
“He leaves a huge void in everyone’s life, whoever met him, but most of all his family, who we are all thinking of.”
Dale, who worked as a labourer, had joined Horsley Hill Boxing Club when he was eight years old and his coach quickly knew he had a rising star on his hands.
Last year, he successfully defended his Tyne Tees and Wear 57 kilo crown for the third time – which resulted in him being able to keep the belt outright.
Steve said: “Winning that belt for the third time and being able to keep it, was one of his proudest moments in his boxing career.
“The belt was his pride and joy – he was just such a talented kid.”
In a mark of respect for Dale, the boxing club has closed its doors for the week.
The club will hold its home show, taking place on November 13, at the Cleadon Club in Fulwell Avenue, South Shields in Dale’s memory.
n Dale such a sad loss ... Page 6