2:00pm Wednesday 30th May 2012
By Oliver Evans
Tributes have been paid to a volunteer boxing coach who has died aged 37.
Friends and family of father-of-three Phillip Panadher said he believed in the sport’s power to inspire younger people.
Mr Panadher, of Kenilworth Way, Bretch Hill, Banbury, was found dead at a house in nearby Harlech Close on May 17.
No cause of death has been revealed but a spokesman for Thames Valley Police said they were not treating the death as suspicous and not looking for anyone in connection with it.
An inquest was formally opened and adjourned on May 22.
The lorry driver was a regular at the town’s Spit ‘n’ Sawdust gym in North Bar Street where he shared his lifelong love of boxing with young people.
His boxing gloves and shirt will be placed on his coffin at his funeral service next week, with up to 400 mourners expected to attend.
The former Queensway School and Banbury School pupil had moved to London and Swindon but returned home in October.
His mother said he struggled as a child with dyslexia and channelled his energy into boxing.
He was mentored and coached by Ken Reynolds at The Willy Freund Centre in Banbury.
Such was his devotion to the sport, his mother Davinda Panadher, 63, said he insisted his temping agency should not get him work on Tuesdays or Thursdays, when he was at the gym.
She said of his recent volunteer work: “He wanted to help others. He would say ‘come on kids, work a bit harder’.
“He was such a soft-hearted lad. He would help anybody, that was the way he was.”
She said she wanted to start a fund to support a youngster through boxing training.
Owner Dave Earle, a member of Banbury Town Council, said: “Phil had a massive influence on the children and had a certain uncomplicated way of getting them to train.
“Phil was starting to influence the lives of others in a positive way, letting them know that if they worked hard they would be successful.”
Family friend and neighbour June Wright, 63, also paid tribute.
She said: “He was very good with youngsters. He was always trying, always striving to do more in life and make his life better.”
A service will be held on Wednesday, June 6, at Banbury Crematorium. All are welcome.
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