FAMILY and friends of the late Redditch boxer Jimmy Moran have bid the 'legendary' sportsman a final farewell.

A funeral service was held at Redditch Crematorium earlier today (Friday, February 12) for the 'big hearted' boxer - who died suddenly at the age of 57 last month.

Funeral celebrant Theo Theobald said Mr Moran was “a man who lived life right to the limit, whether in the ring with an opponent, or in the pub with any number of mates."

"Jimmy was kind and caring, generous and un-materialistic. He was quick-witted with a fantastic, positive energy that drew people to him and he was full of laughter - he could turn any situation into a happy one," he said.

Jimmy Morans coffin brightly decorated for the funeral service

Jimmy Moran's coffin brightly decorated for the funeral service

James John Moran was born on Rectory Road in Redditch to parents John and Maureen on February 27, 1963. He was their second child, preceded by an elder sister Kim and followed by younger brother Adam.

He was schooled at St.Lukes Primary, Walkwood Middle and Bridley Moor High School, making sport his priority. He took after his father, John James Moran, and still holds the Redditch and Bromsgrove Athletic Club’s 3,000 meters under 15s running record.

One of Mr Moran's main sporting achievements was winning the Gold Medal in the Light-Heavyweight division in the 1986 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh.

He had already won the British title earlier that year and in 1987 he repeated his victory, but this time in the heavyweight division. He was also named Midlands BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

Jimmy Moran in his heyday

Jimmy Moran in his heyday

Despite a huge talent and many offers to turn professional, Mr Moran gave it all up for family life and retired from boxing to follow in his father’s footsteps as a bricklayer working on construction sites around the town and surrounding area.

He remained very happy with his decision to concentrate on his life in Redditch and his children, Jack, Sam and Ellie.

His children were able see their dad back in the ring after Mr Moran made a very famous comeback. He trained up to fight American World Heavyweight Champion Tim Witherspoon in a charity bout at Redditch United Football Club in 2012 when he was approaching his 50th birthday.

Jimmy Moran and Tim Witherspoon

Jimmy Moran and Tim Witherspoon

His life-long friend Dave Robinson spoke about his "wonderful memories" of life growing up with Mr Moran at the service.

He said: "Jim was a great character and a party animal. Thanks for the wonderful memories and great times. Good night and God bless Jim." A poem was also read out by Mr Moran's family.

Mr Theobold added: "It strikes me that there are two words which are bandied about far too frequently these days, ‘legend’ and ‘character’.

"Jimmy was both, not perfect of course, but big hearted and a big man in every sense."

Although the number of people who could attend the funeral was limited by current restrictions, the celebrant said if they weren't in place "not only would this room be packed, but they’d be queuing up outside."

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