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Final farewell to Our 'Enry.

MOURNERS lined the streets to pay their respects to heavyweight boxing champion Sir Henry Cooper.

Fans travelled from across the UK to Oxted, Surrey, to watch Sir Henry's cortege make its way to his funeral service yesterday.

The boxer, known affectionately to his fans as 'Our 'Enry, died aged 76 at his son's home in Oxted earlier this month.

The former British, Commonwealth and European champion fought more than 50 times, infamously knocking down the unstoppable Muhammad Ali, then known as Cassius Clay, in 1963.

Fans, young and old, lined the leafy suburban road where Sir Henry saw out his final days while living with his son.

Onlookers bowed their heads in unison as the cortege passed, the Union flag draping Sir Henry's coffin bringing the only splash of colour to the sombre proceedings. Cooper, born in London, was crowned BBC sports personality on two occasions and was knighted in 2000.

He is considered one of the great British heavyweights alongside Frank Bruno and Lennox Lewis.

Air ventilation fitter John Knight, aged 43, from Grays, Essex, took the day off work to come and pay his respects.

He said: "I just wanted to be here. What you saw was what you got with Sir Henry.

"He didn't shout his mouth off, and he was unique and one hell of a boxer."

Tony Lawson, aged 60, an electrician and former amateur boxer from Dulwich, south London, wore a suit for the event.

He said: "He was a boxer's boxer, he had style. He was my hero as a kid and he's still my hero now.

"He's a legend and a British icon."

CAPTION(S):

Sad day: The coffin of Sir Henry Cooper leaves Corpus Christi Catholic Church in Kent. Inset, Bruce Forsyth and Sir Bobby Charlton.
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:May 19, 2011
Words:295
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