READING boxing referee Jeff Hinds has now officiated at 1,374 professional bouts following his duty at the Hilton Hotel in Park Lane, London, last Friday.

That is more than any other referee in Britain, and possibly Europe as well.

Yet, in spite of his highly impressive record spanning 24 years he has never been promoted to the class A star grade, which would make him eligible for any title fight, including British, European and World Championships.

Not surprisingly, this snub has left people asking questions, and even the Daily Mail recently raised the issue with the British Boxing Board of Control, who I understand have given Jeff no explanation for him not being promoted.

Its general secretary, Robert Smith, was reported to have said that the Reading man is close to promotion, but added he “is not yet considered the right calibre for the star grade.”

However, he was appointed to officiate at a World Boxing Council Silver International title bout in Portsmouth last month which is usually reserved for A star refs.

Away from the ring, Jeff is involved with Purley-on-Thames Cricket Club and is now approaching his 30th year as a player and member. Last week was re-elected chairman.

  • JOHN Reed, the Berkshire cricket umpire and former professional musician, was among hundreds of people to pay tribute to TV personality Keith Chegwin who died this week.

“I worked with him many times on Saturday morning television, most notably Saturday Superstore,” said Reed.

“I had the pleasure to produce two singles with him and his brother Jeff. He was a lovely, likeable man who always brought laughter into a room.”

  • READING Rockets Basketball Club and Reading Handball Club are on the shortlist for the Community Club of the Year title at the Get Berkshire Active Awards, while the Albatross divers are up for the Team Performance of the Year prize.

The winners will be announced at Reading’s Hilton Hotel in February.