Founder of Eastwoods bookmakers dies age 87

One of Northern Ireland’s most prominent boxing promoters, and former owner of Eastwoods Bookmakers Barney Eastwood has died aged 87.

Born in 1932, he was well known for founding the Eastwoods chain of betting shops. The retail betting estate was established in 1954 by Barney and his wife Frances Eastwood, and was Northern Ireland’s most prominent betting company. In 2008, Eastwood sold 54 of the betting shops to Ladbrokes in a deal worth £135m.

The bookmaker was also known for working alongside a number of world-title boxers, including former world featherweight champion Barry McGuigan.

After a number of years working together, Eastwood’s relationship with the “Clones Cyclone” soured, resulting in an acrimonious legal dispute, which saw Eastwood awarded £450,000 in damages.

As well as McGuigan, he managed four other world champion boxers – Dave “Boy” McAuley, Paul Hodkinson, Crisanto Espana and Victor Cordoba.

A spokesman for the family confirmed Eastwood’s death to the PA news agency: “BJ’s passing has brought great sadness to the family as well as the whole community in Holywood where he was a very visible resident for the past 50 years.

“All who knew him will miss his remarkable charm.”

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