WORLD boxing champion Stuart Hall was honoured at a civic reception in his home town today (Tuesday January 28).
Former roofer, Hall was named IBF bantamweight champion of the world when he defeated African Vusi Malinga in a sensational 12-round showdown in December.
In doing so, the 33-year-old became Darlington’s first world boxing champion and the North-East’s second.
His tremendous achievements were honoured at a civic reception held at Darlington’s town hall – a poignant venue for Hall, who was named junior mayor of the town in 1990 after winning a school competition.
He said: “This town means everything to me. I was brought up here and it will always be my home.
“To know I’ve made history for the town is a brilliant feeling. I can’t believe what I have done, it has totally changed my life.
“I was brought up in Skerne Park, a rough estate. I’m not posh and things like this are completely overwhelming, I never thought this would happen to me."
He added: “I became junior mayor after writing a letter saying I wanted to clean up the rough estates and help people in the town and those are issues that still drive me.
“I now want to use my position to help support and hopefully inspire other people.”
Hosted by Mayor Charles Johnson, the civic reception saw many of the town’s key figures join Hall’s friends and family in celebrating his sporting success.
Recognising his hard work and dedication, Mayor Johnson said: “This was a shining example of you as an athlete and a Darlington resident.
“You are a great ambassador for Darlington and have put us on the international stage.”
Hall’s proud mother, Eileen, said: “He has done this town proud and has put the North-East back on the map."
Since his victory, Hall – who only turned professional five years ago – has worked to inspire others to follow in his footsteps, visiting schools in the region and returning to his club, Spennymoor Boxing Academy, to share his success story.