THE CAMPAIGN to erect a statue to forgotten Scots boxing champion has been given a boost of at least £10,000 by Robert Carlyle.
Carlyle – best known for his role in cult movie Trainspotting – recently backed a Glasgow campaign to honour local boxing legend Benny Lynch.
Lynch was just 5ft 4in tall – but flew to fame in the 1930s as the European and World “flyweight” boxing champion – making him Scotland’s sporting superstar of the age.
After fighting his way out of poverty and onto the world stage he died just 33 years old – and has been largely forgotten by all but a few boxing fanatics.
Earlier this year a campaign was started by local fans to erect a statue of the star in his Glasgow hometown.
In support of the drive Robert Carlyle has put a signed pilot script from his hit US show “Once Upon a Time” up for sale to raise some of the £100,000 needed to build the statue.
Now the bidding on the script is at fever pitch – sitting at £10,100 with more than a day left of bidding to go.
Carlyle put the “Once Upon a Time” script up for sale on online auction site Ebay last Tuesday night – with a starting price of £1,000.
Carlyle stars as Rumpelstiltskin in the series – which is a reboot of classic fairytales, merged with a present-day storyline.
Other actors who have signed Carlyle’s rare personal copy of the pilot script include Star Trek actor Jennifer Morrison.
Since then star-obsessed bidders have driven up the price in bids rising by as much as £600 each time.
Now – with 37 hours to go – the cost of the script could rise even more in a last minute bidding frenzy.
Speaking previously on his support for the campaign, Carlyle said: “I cannot think of anyone, past or present from the city of Glasgow, who deserves it more.
“I’ve been an admirer of Benny Lynch for more years than I care to remember. Even though he never saw him fight, he was a great hero of my father.
“My grandfather on the other hand saw him fight on several occasions. His stories have been handed down from him to my father, from my father to me, and from me to my kids who are as familiar with the name Benny Lynch as they are with any present sportsman.”
Lynch earned his titled as “The Little King” as his boxing career started in Glasgow during the Great Depression.
Fighting in the flyweight category, Lynch rose to fame after winning the 1934 Scottish title against Ken Campbell.
He then took on the British and European champion Jackie Brown in two matches – drawing one and winning the other by flooring his opponent eight times before the match was ended in the second round.
Thousands of Scots travelled south to support him in the match – which took place in Manchester.
Just two years later – in 1937 – he was offered a fight for the world title in London, against Filipino rival Small Montana.The pair duked it out over 15 rounds until Lynch won the title.
When he arrived home in Glasgow’s Central Station the next day it is said that a crowd of some 100,000 was waiting to greet him.
But after his great successes Lynch fell into alcoholism – eventually dropping out of the sport when he couldn’t meet the health standards required to box.
He died in Glasgow’s Southern General Hospital at just 33 years old – and over 2,000 people attended his funeral.