A former world champion boxer and Clapton resident surprised crowds with a soulful rendition of two Bob Marley classics at a community event held at the Hackney Empire.
Maurice Hope, 62, held the WBC Light Middleweight title from 1979-81, but last Sunday he wowed crowds with a rendition of Marley’s “One love” and “No woman, no cry.”
“Singing definitely gives me the opportunity to show my sensitive side,” the former fighter confessed.
Comparing his fighting days to his new musical pursuit he said: “Just like Bob Marley said, the thing about music is when it hits you, you don’t feel a thing.”
Antiguan-born Hope, who represented Great Britain at the 1972 Munich Olympics, performed alongside an over-50s arts group called the Hackney Empire Elders, which he himself is a member of.
The group, which meets each week, is made up of older people interested in both seeing the arts and most recently, showing off their own stage talents.
“Older people can often feel isolated and I think the Hackney Empire Elders is a group that’s really got together and has a lot of fun”.
Hope continued: “Everything is going on when you’re 20-40, as you get older it becomes more and more difficult to show off your talents. The group gives us all a sense of purpose and I look forward to more meetings and days out.”
The Elders performed as part of a Fun Palaces event. The Fun Palaces programme organises free interactive community events all over the UK.
For more information on the Hackney Empire Elders, check here.
(Photo and video: Fiona Parker)