People would say to Charlie ‘thanks for training me for life’

Mourners are expected to line the streets of New Addington on February 19 to bid farewell to a pillar of their community, writes Tara O’Connor, local democracy reporter.

Charlie Hustwayte spent more than 20 years as a coach at New Addington Amateur Boxing Club.

He passed away at Princess Royal University Hospital in Locksbottom, Bromley after a short battle with coronavirus aged 84 on January 24.

Charlie lived in New Addington from the age of three and was passionate about the community.

As well as more than 20 years at the boxing club, from the 70s to the 90s, he also spent a number of years as chairman of the 21 Club in New Downs Crescent.

His middle son, Charlie, 57, said he transformed the venue from a drinking club for men to a place for families to socialise together.

Charlie leaves behind three children, Stephen, Charlie and Maxine as well as four grandchildren and three great grandchildren.

His wife Pauline died in 1997.

Michael Dunican, 53, was one of the hundreds trained by Charlie and attended the club from the age of six until his early 20s.

He said: “Charlie was not just a trainer at a boxing club but a pillar of the community, who touched the lives of all of us fortunate enough to know him.

Charlie Hustwayte

“This virus has robbed him of the fitting celebration of his life he deserved, to which we would have met up in our hundreds, swapped stories and toasted his memory.

“The estate had little to offer angry young boys with nothing to do but hang about on the streets, but the boxing club was open to all, three nights a week.”

Michael said that his time at the boxing club provided him and his friends with an escape and somewhere to belong.

He added: “Charlie invested his time, always there to support and always with words of wisdom, even if it was not what you wanted to hear – council estates and boxing clubs have their fair share of rogues. We learned the importance of humour and the values of good honest hard work.”

In 2016 he was given a British Citizens’ Award for his services to the community.

Charlie was nominated by his daughter Maxine who said: “He was very proud, he said to me ‘I got rewarded for something I enjoy doing’.

“He had a lot of love to give and he shared it with everyone.

“He was very proud of the estate and was always quite defensive of New Addington.

“People would always come up to him in Croydon or in the pub and say thank you for training them for life.

“We all say that he is our hero, dad was a massive family man, he absolutely loved all his family.”

As well as his work in the community, the great grandfather worked in plumbing and heating alongside his son Charlie, only giving up work aged 80.

His son Charlie said: “We worked together for 30 years, he had incredible management skills and was very much a people person, he always knew the right thing to say.

“He was a unique person, because of my relationship working with him, he was a friend as well as a dad. He was an honest, generous man.”

Charlie was in the early stages of dementia and his family are unsure how he contracted Covid.

He did not need to be treated in intensive care and his three children were able to be with him in his final days in hospital.

“I can’t thank the hospital enough for allowing us to see him. He knew we were there,” his son added.

“I caught Covid myself and am just getting over it. It is an awful disease.

“Dad was such a sociable man so he found the past year extremely difficult. Had this been normal times there would have been hundreds at his funeral.”

“Instead, at his funeral on February 19, there will be just 30 people.”

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