Goodbye Muhammad Ali - and fond memories of his visit to Newcastle in 1977
By David Faulkner
How sad that Muhammad Ali (voted the sports personality of the 20th century) has died. He came to Newcastle upon Tyne in1977, and was impressed by the warmth of his reception in the North East, and was moved to say, "I've never been so honoured, not in America itself by Government officials and authority".
Ali was received by the Lord Mayor of Newcastle, councillors and many British boxing greats at the Mansion House, Newcastle. He also visited the Grainger Park Boxing Club to spar with the young boxers, was guest of honour at a charity dinner at the Mayfair, and did a 50 minute televised interview
at Eldon Square Leisure Centre. He then visited nearby South Shields and its Yemeni community, one of the oldest Muslim communities in the UK - and his marriage was blessed in the town's mosque.
The story is captured by Newcastle-based film-maker Tina Gharavi - for more information about his visit see