Dave Fleming, Director/Chairman Dick Hearns Centre

Ballina Boxing Club began a new life in 1978 in the former mill warehouse at Downhill Road, and this was due mainly to the efforts of Eamonn Horkan and the late Msgr. Paddy Gallagher in securing the building for the club. Training took place on the first floor which had a small ring overlooked by a viewing area and there was a weights-room on the next floor. Dave Fleming, who joined the club in 1983 and is  currently the longest-serving native of the town to serve as a member of Ballina Boxing Club, became Chairman at the AGM and has held that position since. Dave is also Director/Chairman of the company involved in the construction of the Dick Hearns Centre.

Dave has been a great anchorman for Ballina Boxing Club over many years, has helped guide its progress and supported initiatives during good times and not so good. It is true to say that Dave "went to great heights" to ensure the club could continue to operate through stormy weather in the former gym on Downhill Road over the years: fixing slippery loose slates caused no problem to Dave if there were a few ladders close by. Dave never asked for praise for his work, nor is he interested in publicity: getting the job done and not talking about it has been Dave's way from a young age in all aspects of his life. Now in retirement from Mayo County Council, Dave -- a long-time admirer of the late Dick Hearns -- says he is most grateful to be part of this latest venture to honour the great man by having a new gymnasium named in his honour and in bringing his story back to life in his native town. "Every young lad in Ballina boxed when I was young and I have seen great boxing shows in the town in my time," says Dave, "but have heard the older people speak of the pride they felt as Ballinamen to see their own Dick Hearns stand up to the best around in his day and to beat them. I have never seen Dick Hearns box, and I'm not likely to see his equal coming from Mayo ever again, but it may happen if we provide proper facilities for the youth and give them encouragement and support. Ballina Boxing Club is a great club, always was," says Dave, "and there will be an even brighter future after the lights go on in the new gym."

Dave lives with his wife Martina in Ballina. His inate knowledge of the workings of engines and machines has surprised many down the years and this was put to good use during his working life and also in helping sort out problems for any who knew him. Dave enjoys watching boxing, soccer and Gaelic Football and looks forward to Irish athletes competing on the world stage at all sports. "I'll be a very happy man the day the doors open in the Dick Hearns Centre and I hope it is used by all Mayo athletes on their journeys to greatness! And next time round, a Ballinaman who qualifies for the Summer Olympics won't be unjustly denied an opportunity to compete for a gold medal as happened to Ballina's Dick Hearns in 1936!"  Dave adds.