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Aid worker’s friend turns grief into love by raising money for old boxing club




The childhood friend of a British aid worker who died in an Israeli drone strike in Gaza hopes to honour him by raising money for the boxing club he used to attend.

James “Jimmy” Henderson was among the seven World Central Kitchen (WCK) workers who died when their convoy was hit outside the Deir al-Balah warehouse.

Harry James-Mills, 33, a food festival organiser, grew up with Mr Henderson in Penryn, Cornwall, and was friends with him from the age of seven.

Harry James-Mills (left) and James Henderson (right), who grew up together in Penryn, Cornwall (Harry James-Mills)
Harry James-Mills (left) and James Henderson (right), who grew up together in Penryn, Cornwall (Harry James-Mills)

Mr James-Mills described Mr Henderson as a “strong, brave, loyal and fearless” friend and wants to “retell Jimmy’s story to future young people” by raising money for the Falmouth and Penryn Boxing Club, which Mr Henderson used to attend.

Mr James-Mills told the PA news agency: “The fundraiser came about from us moving away from anger, confusion and hatred after what happened into love.

“The idea that we can raise money for Jimmy’s club, and then affect lots of young people for generations to come, why not?”

He met with Mr Henderson, a former Royal Marine, the same night he was due to travel to Gaza and the pair spoke of their pride in his work with WCK.

“We shared a dinner together along with a few other people and I feel so happy that I shared that moment with him,” Mr James-Mills said.

“We spoke about (him travelling to Gaza), but he said he was really proud about what he was doing.

“He wasn’t carrying any weapons. He wasn’t wearing any sort of uniform. He was just doing something that was really good.”

What we decided to do was focus on the things we could change and could control and that was very much our own community
Harry James-Mills

Mr James-Mills said it was “difficult” to listen to or watch the news following his friend’s death, but wanted to turn his grief into something positive by honouring Mr Henderson and helping his local community.

“For us to go through not only the grief process of losing a friend, but also it being the forefront of every newspaper and every news station, was difficult,” he explained.

“The nature of it being under such political circumstances, you go through those stages of grief where it’s shock and loss and anger and naturally you want answers.”

Mr James-Mills added: “We got to the point as a group of friends where we did a lot of meeting up and lots of cups of tea… and we said, ‘OK, we can’t change what happened’.

“What we decided to do was focus on the things we could change and could control and that was very much our own community.”

The Falmouth and Penryn Boxing Club, which has been open for 17 years and is run by volunteers, hopes to remember Mr Henderson by renaming the club in his name.

The fundraiser aims to raise money to help the club find a new space and new equipment to raise the next generation of boxers.

“They’re just a self-funding entity which has never had any support by anyone and they’re really struggling just because lots of these little clubs are,” Mr James-Mills said.

Jimmy represented what I aspire to be as a modern masculine man because he was strong, brave, loyal and fearless but at the same time he was completely soft, loving and connected to his family and friends
Harry James-Mills

“We’re hoping we can retell Jimmy’s story to those future young people.”

He said he admired Mr Henderson’s personality and described him as fearless, but loving.

“Jimmy represented what I aspire to be as a modern masculine man because he was strong, brave, loyal and fearless but at the same time he was completely soft, loving and connected to his family and friends,” Mr James-Mills said.

He hopes this fundraiser will allow himself and Mr Henderson’s friends and family to find peace beyond their grief.

Mr James-Mills said: “Once you’re able to remove yourself from things like death and war, and how that affects people, and actually come into a state of love and compassion and care, I truly think that’s going to help so many people.”

So far, he has raised nearly £5,000 of his £10,000 target. To learn more about the fundraiser, you can visit: https://www.gofundme.com/f/remembering-jimmy-a-boxing-legacy


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