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In memory of Terry Adams, OUABC '58

Terry Adams Tribute - 22 September 2023

Delivered by Chris Mack '86, OUABC Alumni Association President


I would like to thank Fabienne and Tal for the honour of being able to pay tribute to Terry on behalf of Oxford University Amateur Boxing Club.


Terry was a supreme athlete. He played many sports at Oxford, including swimming for the University, but his first love was always boxing. He fought for Oxford University Amateur Boxing Club (OUABC) winning blues at light middle in 1955, 1956 (when he captained the winning team against Cambridge), 1957 and 58. Terry was good. Terry was very, very good. In those days the team would fight many times a term, often in the town hall which would be packed with locals, so much so that the young boxers achieved celebrity status. OUABC also went on tours overseas and in all that time Terry only ever lost one bout, winning two Combined British Universities Championships along the way. What an incredible record! The OUABC trainer in those days was Alf Gallie who had taken the Great Britain team to the Helsinki Olympics in 1952, a team which included a certain Henry Cooper, and local boxer Percy Lewis. Percy went on to become a professional, and in 1957 Featherweight Champion of the British Empire. At that time Percy would come down to train at the club… and Terry would spar with him. Terry really was that good. 


When I started at OUABC in 1985 Alf was still there, and Percy had become head coach. Inevitably they would talk about the great boxers they had trained over the years and one name always came up. Terry Adams. Alf and Percy both knew their boxing and said Terry was one of the finest ever to lace on a pair of gloves for the university. Mention any of this to Terry, however, and he would smile, nonchalantly brush it off, and claim they were being far too generous. Terry was one of the nicest, politest, most decent and (despite his talents) most modest men I have ever known.


Throughout his life Terry’s enthusiasm and dedication to OUABC never wavered. He was a permanent fixture at Varsity Matches….indeed on the day of the fixture this year he came out of hospital and against medical advice insisted on going straight to the match, telling people with a smile  ‘they tried to stop me coming but I wouldn’t let them!’

Equally, in nearly 40 years I never went to a Vincent’s dinner where I didn’t see Terry’s cheery smile.  And you could always be sure that as soon as an invite went out for any OUABC reunion, the first to book their place was Terry.  None of these occasions will ever be the same without him.


What was amazing about Terry was his positive attitude. Always smiling, he had time for everyone, young and old. He encouraged the current boxers and would attend their training sessions even though he lived 60 miles away! Because of his indefatigable support for the club he was made the only ever Honorary Life President. And when the Alumni Association was recently reinvigorated there was only one candidate for the same position.


Terry was generous not just with his time but also financially. For example, when we were raising money for the Gallie-Lewis-Dean Gym he was immediately incredibly supportive, and it is more than fitting that his name is at the very top of the donor board. Terry also sponsored local boxers not at the university to train with the club on camps abroad, something they couldn’t have done without Terry’s support. But as was typical, Terry kept it quiet and hardly anyone even knew.


Terry was unique. As one Alumna simply put it a few years ago ‘Everyone loves Terry.’


Terry will be making his final journey in his OUABC Blues Blazer and his Vincent’s tie. He was known for an awesome left hook….I just hope God can duck!

Terry Adams passed away on the 30th of July and is survived by his daughter Fabienne, his soon Tal and his granddaughter Anna-Bianca.

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