Wallington boxer Lewis Pinto remembered
"There's only one Lewis Pinto, one Lewis Pinto", sang the mourners at the funeral of the promising young Wallington boxer on Friday (June 22).
Led by Lewis' father Steve Pinto, the 400 strong procession fought back the tears to sing what had echoed around sports halls during his short-lived boxing career.
This time, it was in the much more sombre setting of St Elpheges Church, Wallington.
Poignantly, Mr Pinto had insisted everyone got to their feet, much as they had done at his ringside, as it "was the last time we can all sing it together."
Pinto, only 24, was preparing for his second professional fight in July when he took his own life on June 3.
On the morning of the tragedy, Pinto, a former Thomas More pupil in Purley, told friends on facebook "I love you all, good night, and God bless."
At Pinto's funeral on Friday, many of the people who had cheered him on in the crowd, stood in shock, with heads bowed as family members paid tribute to whom his father described as a "wonderful son".
Steve Pinto said: "I think Lewis was trying to upstage the Jubilee procession. And I think, in this small corner of the world, he succeeded."
"He always used to say he was a lover, not a fighter, then he decided that as a fighter he could get ten times as many lovers."
Mr Pinto spoke proudly of his son as having made people change attitudes about the Roundshaw Estate on which he had grown up.
"He made people proud to say I'm from Roundshaw".
"Lewis was absolutely fearless. He was more of a man in one day than most of us can expect to be in a lifetime."
Earlier this month, hundreds of lanterns were released in memory of the former bricklayer at Roundshaw airfield.
In the order of service, a message from the family read: "Since Lewis died his family have been overwhelmed by the support and thoughtfulness shown by his friends and relations which is a tribute to how Lewis affected everyone he knew."
Steve Pinto told the procession: "If he had lived longer, I'm sure he would have gone on to be one of the greatest. With someone who has such high highs, there must be low lows."
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