“He wasn’t just my Dad, he was my best friend, he was my hero.”
These are the moving words of tribute paid by boxer Callum Johnson to his dad Paul, who has died unexpectedly.
Paul, better known to family and friends as Johno, died on Wednesday after suffering a heart attack a week earlier.
The larger-than-life character was well known in the Boston area for running businesses and offering his guidance to local sportsmen.
“It was a terrible shock, we thought he was going to be OK and was on the mend,” said Callum. “But that week we had was one of the nicest weeks of my life with him, spending time with the family. I will remember that week for the rest of my life.”
Paul, 52, from Benington, was a constant by Callum’s side throughout his career.
“He was the first person I went on the pads with, he would always be there in the car behind me when I went for my runs, he travelled with me around the world,” said Callum.
That coaching helped guide Callum to the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Dehli, where he won light heavyweight gold representing Scotland.
On that day, surrounded by family and friends, including wife June and daughters Chelsea and Tia, Paul watched as Callum looked straight down the camera and said ‘that’s for you, Dad’.
“Everything I do is for my family, especially my Dad,” said Callum. “I’m the luckiest person alive to have had the relationship I had with my Dad. With my Dad around, I felt like I could jump out of a plane without a parachute on and he would catch me. That’s how we all felt.”
Callum added: “He guided so many people in life. He opened up the home to anyone who needed help.”
Callum said the family have been overwhelmed by messages of support.
“The whole family would like to thank everyone for all of their messages and condolences,” he said. “We have read every single one. It has been really comforting.”
Paul’s funeral will be held at Boston Stump on March 7 at 1.30pm.