Mick Taylor, a “father-like figure” and former police officer who saved countless young people from a life of crime through boxing, has died.
Mick, 78, died surrounded by his family at Hinchingbrooke Hospital, in Huntingdon, on Wednesday (9 August) after being admitted there with a bleed on the brain.
Mick, who was a Cambridgeshire officer for more than 30 years, was best known for setting up the Campol Boxing Club in 1972 on the Oxmoor Estate, in Huntingdon, to get young people off the streets and into positive activity.
He had suffered from ill health over the years but continued to drive the club forwards, attending training sessions and organising shows.
Chief Constable Nick Dean said: “Mick’s legacy is a special one, having been a father-like figure to so many young people he saved from a life of crime by teaching them discipline through boxing.
“His passing is incredibly sad, and he is a great loss across policing, especially to all those he coached and mentored.
“My thoughts are with his family and friends at this very difficult time.”
Mick also inspired PC Chris Baker, a safer schools officer in Peterborough, to start Peterborough Police Boxing Club in 2013.
A devastated Chris said: “Mick was like a dad to me, and his death came as a massive blow. Mick’s favourite saying was ‘Drink in, brain’s out’, implying the issues caused by drinking alcohol.
“Mick was my mentor in life and was always there for me. He guided me through some very dark and tough times and chiselled me into the man I am today. Without Mick, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
“I will continue his legacy and passion for diverting young people away from crime and disorder through boxing.”
Chris’s wife PC Vicki Baker, from the force’s People and Professionalism Department, coaches at Peterborough Police Boxing Club. She remembers his dedication to the sport.
“I am truly devastated that we said goodbye to a true boxing man – a man who has dedicated his life to the sport and has been part of my family for so many years.
“Mick’s support and work ethic has been a huge inspiration in my coaching journey. Like a loving dad, he was always proud of me and the achievements of my boys.
“I am broken by such a loss but inspired by his warm heart.”
Deputy Chief Constable of Bedfordshire Dan Vajzovic, who knew Mick through boxing, said: “Mick was a stalwart of the Campol Boxing Club – much respected and loved by all who knew him. I can personally remember Mick and his work with the club for more than 20 years.
“His cheery smile and chat in the gym have been a mainstay of Thursday evenings. The legacy he leaves is a result of a lifetime of commitment and I know the club will continue as a tribute to him for years to come.
“His loss will be felt by so many people, and I would like to send my condolences to his wife Christine and all those who have been friends with Mick over the years.”
Mick began his career with Cambridgeshire Constabulary as a cadet in 1962 and retired in 1994 as a DC.
He was an officer covering the Somersham and Ramsey areas before joining the bomb squad with the Metropolitan Police for three years and spending seven years with the Cambridgeshire drug squad.
Last month, Mick was on the shortlist for a Boxing England Lifetime Achievement Award and attended the ceremony in Sheffield.
Through Campol Boxing Club he became a father-like figure to many of the young people who attended, channelling their energy into boxing.
He was well-known in the community and loved talking to people.
Some of the testimonies from boxing club members include:
- “Mick saved me from a life of crime.”
- “He taught me that my actions had consequences and together he helped me overcome my anger issues.”
- “He’s a hero of the area and has saved countless individuals from Oxmoor. The man has no idea of the impact he has had and his dedication to the sport and helping others drives him forward.”
- “There are hundreds of amazing coaches out there, but there’s only one Mick Taylor – a man who has devoted his life to his community and boxing.”
Mick leaves behind his wife Christine and three daughters.
His funeral details are yet to be confirmed.
Mick Taylor pictured with PC Chris Baker. PHOTO: Courtesy of Cambridgeshire Police
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