South Tyneside’s boxing community is in mourning after losing one of its most talented and well-respected coaches to cancer.
Billy Deans was told he only had two months to live when he was informed of his diagnosis.
True to his fighting style, the 62-year-old from Boldon, bravely battled on for a further three months.
He died on October 5 - five months after being diagnosed.
Mr Deans was one of seven brothers who won more than 500 amateur awards between them during their boxing careers.
When his brothers Frank and Brian set up Perth Green Boxing Club, in Jarrow, he was one of a number of schoolboy and senior champions produced by the club.
He was born a fighter and went out a fighterSteve Lamb
Mr Deans, himself, won an array of junior and senior titles and, when his time in the ring was over, he went into coaching the next generation of champions.
Well-known in the region for his skills, boxers from across the area would head to the gym at Perth Green to take advantage of their superior coaching and advanced boxing techniques.
Mr Deans was the main man behind the training of boxer Dave Johnson who went on to have a successful career as a professional boxer.
Speaking on behalf of the gym, coach Steve Lamb said: “When David retired, Billy kept his hand in at Perth Green, calling in every Friday to make sure the lads were putting in the hard training.
“He was involved in the coaching right up to a few weeks before his death.
“He loved to go on the trips away to Rhodes with the boxing team.
“Billy was loved and respected by everyone he came in to contact with and will be sadly missed.
“Billy was given only two months to live, but went on to live for five.
“He was born a fighter and went out a fighter.”
A service will be held at South Shields Crematorium on Monday where family and friends can pay their final respects to Mr Deans.
The service will start at 12.30pm followed by interment at Jarrow Cemetery at 1.30pm.
The family have requested family flowers only with any donations in lieu of flowers to be made to the charity MIND.