Photographer David Bailey crosses paths with Repton club trainer after 44 years

Legendary photographer David Bailey was reunited with one of his earliest subjects, Repton boxing club coach Tony Burns, at the launch of his new exhibition last week.

The pair had not met since Mr Bailey photographed Mr Burns at Bethnal Green’s Repton club in 1968. Since then, they have both enjoyed huge success in their respective fields.

David Bailey is responsible for some of the most iconic pictures of the 20th century, and has photographed countless icons, from John Lennon to the Kray twins.

Meanwhile, Tony Burns has trained young boxers at the Repton for almost 50 years, nurturing 11 Olympic fighters, including two captains of Team GB. He admitted it was terrific to be reunited with an old friend.

“A pal of mine told me that David was doing an exhibition in Newham, so I thought I’d go down. It was great - after 40 odd years we instantly knew each other and got on with each other,” he said.


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Mr Bailey had been a frequent visitor to the club in the sixties, often in the company of the Kray twins, who he had been commissioned to photograph by the Sunday Times Magazine. Mr Burns is now determined to ensure the pair meet again soon.

“We said to each other that we’re not going to let it go 44 years again, so he’s going to come down to the Repton again soon,” he commented.

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The exhibition opened on July 6, and will run until August 5 at Compressor House in Dockside Road, Newham.

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