Tributes to Anne McDermott the woman at the heart of sporting family

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THE daughter of one of Wakefield’s boxing stars, who was also mum to some of the city’s most famous sporting sons, has died.

Anne McDermott lost her short battle with cancer on New Year’s Eve.

The 76-year-old was well-known for being a member of the famous McGowan family of Wakefield.

Her dad Harry, brother Johnny and grandad Chippy were all boxers.

But three of her 10 children also went on to become rugby league stars in their own right.

Paul played for Wakefield Trinity, Christopher for the Sheffield Eagles and son Brian, who now coaches the Leeds Rhinos, has played for Great Britain and Bradford Bulls.

Mrs McDermott had 22 grandchildren, five great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren.

She was a member of St Austin’s Catholic Church in Wakefield and ran yoga clinics across the city. She was also heavily involved with local and national diabetes groups.

Her brother Michael McDermott, of Hemsworth said: “Anne was unique. She was very religious and never missed a mass. She was also a very determined person, who loved helping others and was a quirky character with a real sense of humour too.”

Her dad Harry McGowan, who also fought as Harry Norton, drew one of Belle Vue’s biggest ever crowds in 1933, when he fought Nat Shakespeare in front of 33,000 people at Trinity’s rugby ground..

Brother Johnny was one of the top professional boxers in England after the war and once appeared on a bill for a fight at the Royal Albert Hall above the notorious London Kray boys.

Mrs McDermott’s funeral will be held at St Austin’s Catholic Church, Wentworth Terrace, Wakefield, on Monday at noon.

Donations in lieu of flowers to Wakefield Hospice.