An exhibition highlighting of one of Orange's most-revered sporting products was launched at the Regional Museum on Friday morning, celebrating the life and career of boxing champion-turned-butcher Pat Ford.
Pat Ford: The Pride of Orange features rarely-seen images, footage and memorabilia from the boxing butcher's short but remarkable career, which included national and Commonwealth title wins and defences.
Friday morning's launch was to be followed by a sold-out opening that evening, with the former champion's family attending both. His son Tony admitted he was stunned by the exhibition.
"To see what the staff here have done highlighting Dad's career is beyond belief," Tony Ford said on Friday morning, flanked by Janine, Sue, Paul and Bill Ford.
"We had all Dad's gear framed on his 70th birthday but it sat in a shed so we decided the public deserved to see it because what he achieved in just four of five years of boxing was a pretty amazing feat."
Pat Ford started his career as a 16-year-old at the CYMS Boxing Club in 1947, just three years later he already held both the NSW and Australian amateur lightweight championship belts.
He turned professional the year after, winning the Australian and Commonwealth (known as Empire at the time) championships in the next two years. In 1955, aged just 25, he retired to run his own butchery.
That was always his dream and he owned Pat Ford's Butchery on March Street for 35 years before he retired in 1990. Pat Ford died in 2012 aged 81.
The Ford family worked closely with Orange Regional Museum's staff and manager Mary-Elizabeth Andrews to produce the exhibition, which will feature the former champion's well-worn boxing boots, title belts and national Hall of Fame trophy.
"We've learned so much ourselves, just by sitting down with Mary-Elizabeth and go through the history, there was a lot of moments I found out that we never knew and it really has been incredible," Tony said.
"But, really, he was just our Dad. He did tell us a few stories but he was a very modest man, he didn't brag and he didn't want attention."
Orange mayor Reg Kidd encouraged everyone to head to the museum and share the story of one of Orange's best known sportspeople.
"Pat Ford was an inspiration to local people for many years and the attributes he is known for set an example that is still admired to this day," he said.
Ms Andrews echoed that sentiment, wholeheartedly.
"It's remarkable how many people knew and loved Pat Ford. We've had huge interest in the exhibition and look forward to sharing it with locals and visitors to the region," she said.
The exhibition will be on display until October 28, entry is free.
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