From boxing to the Jets for talented Fred
FRED Wingfield, who died last month aged 83, was a legendary figure in the Meadows.
He was, at various times, a milkman, pub landlord, trade unionist, basketball player and professional boxer.
Fred was actually born in Bulwell on February 3, 1929. He moved to Woolmer Road in the Meadows with his parents, Harry and Elsie, in the 1930's.
While he was at Trent Bridge School, a teacher, Paddy O'Dwyer, put a pair of boxing gloves on him.
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Although only ten, and half the size of most pupils, he soon got the nickname, "Killer".
Wingfield left school in 1943, taking a job as a Co-op milkman.
Immediately after the war, Fred turned professional in the tough bantamweight division under Harry Gill.
He drew his first paid fight against Ken Jepson, at the Kings Hall, Derby, on September 9, 1946.
Known for getting into "a bit of bother", young Fred didn't back down from an argument. It was such a relief to his mother, Elsie, when he went into the Army in 1948, that she allegedly put a sign on the front garden stating, "If anything goes off, it's not Fred. He's gone into the Army!"
Wingfield was stationed in Northern Ireland for two years where he became a PTI, rising to the rank of Lance Bombardier Corporal.
Fred got into basketball during his Army days and was playing in a match at Meadows Boys Club when he met Joyce Evelyn Compton (1923-90), a hairdresser, who was keeping score with his cousin, Greta.
Fred and Joyce lived with his parents until they could afford to buy a house with a shop for Joyce to run her hairdressing business at 8 Eland Street, in Basford.
Fred was learning to be a joiner/bricklayer while still doing a milk round for the Co-op.
At the same time he was getting into politics through the trade unions and led the milkmen out on strike in 1956.
While all this was happening, Harry Gill got Fred and his younger brother, Barry, back in the ring.
The brothers trained in the attic at Eland Street and fought on the same card six times from 1956-1957.
Fred retired from the fight game after losing on points to Jimmy Fitzpatrick at Wisbech, on October 27, 1958. with a modest won 9, lost 19 drawn 4. Barrie's brief career was: won 2, lost 6, drawn 1.
Fred and Joyce eventually moved back to the Meadows in Bathley Street before becoming tenants at the Wilberforce Tavern on Wollaton Street (demolished due to development of the Royal Centre) for two years.
In 1968, Fred made a trip to Wembley to see the magic Harlem Globetrotters with nine-year-old son Gary. It led to him forming the Meadows Jets Basketball Club.
Fred trained the children in the neighbourhood, outdoors, running up and down Beauvale Road. Fortunately, not many families had cars in those days.
There were no leagues for their age group so Fred entered the club into the lower division of the men's Sherwood League.
Massive scores were racked up against the young Jets which in one case reached over 200 points and established a Guinness Book of World Records mark.
The players included Tuva "The Mover" Browne, Steven Sheppard, Graham Howitt, Mac and Lloyd Bell, Harold Sommersall, Brent Fantom, Ray Karim, Paul Newell and Derek Whiting.
Fred's whole family were involved in the club with wife Joyce and daughters, Tania and Vicki, assigned to scorekeeping and time-keeping duties, Gary playing and Fred managing and coaching.
Fred eventually entered the team in the old England Central League. At one point he put a team out which included three Americans, Jimmy and Ronnie Smith and Doug Krimmel, plus England internationals, John Dabrowski, Wally Walczyk, Kevin Wright and Dave Gilbert.
The Jets later joined forces with Peter Viles and Glyn Taylor to form Nottingham Basketball Club in 1973.
Their senior squad became founder members of what is now English National League Division I, in 1974.
Fred's mother, Elsie, provided accommodation for Nottingham's first American player, Paul Meade in 1976-77.
At the same time, the Wingfield's adopted Jimmy 'Jumpshot' Smith, who was playing for Loughborough All Stars.
"One Friday, Fred asked me to put the Jets players through a workout in the tiny gym at Roland Green School, in Wilford," recalled Smith.
"After the session he gave me £1 in 10p pieces. Afterwards, the team would go to the Toll Bridge Pub, where Joyce was working part-time."
About 18 months later Fred was selling shares in Nottingham Basketball Club for £1 so Jimmy was obliged to give him the £1 back.
When Jets players Gary Wingfield and Tuva Browne moved up to senior national league with Nottingham, Fred became part of the management team, assisting Smith and Viles.
"Nottingham couldn't have won the championships we did without the Wingfields," stressed Smith.
"The club had no main sponsor, but Fred and Joyce made sure my brother, Ron, and I were looked after.
"Just to show you the kind of people they were, when we played Murray International from Edinburgh, Fred had the whole Scottish team over to his house after the game. They loved his homemade wine.
"On another occasion I remember the coal being delivered in the dead of winter.
"The coal men were freezing cold. Fred and Joyce made them coffee and put some whiskey in it to warm them up."
Fred retired from the building trade in the mid-1990's, settling in West Bridgford, which he called, "Bread and Lard Island".
He was known to locals as the "lollipop man" at Jesse Gray School for several years into the 2000's until he was forced to go into care homes.