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A love affair with the camera

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Former police officer Wentworth Christopher has unearthed a collection of old photographs taken of Muhammad Ali during his visit to the island in 1974.

Mr Christopher had the privilege of accompanying the boxing legend throughout his trip as a favour to his friend, promoter Olive Trott, who first brought the boxer to Bermuda.

The photographs, taken by Gene Ray, formerly of the Bermuda News Bureau, show Ali visiting schools, the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital and spending time at the Hamilton Princess.

One particularly lively shot shows Ali at the hospital with fellow boxer Kid Gavilán, who is pictured dancing to music being played on the guitar by Eldridge Smith — father of Donal Smith, the former Deputy Mayor of Hamilton.

Another image is of Ali flashing a gigantic grin, showing off his teeth to the children during a dental demonstration.

He is holding up an apple to show that fruit is better for your teeth than candy.

Ms Trott, who launched the Miss Bermuda pageant in 1965 and was responsible for bringing a host of famous faces to Bermuda, is also pictured in some shots, including one outside the Hamilton Princess along with Ali, Kid Gavilán, Mr Christopher and a manager at the hotel.

There is also a picture of a young boy play-fighting with Muhammad Ali at what is believed to be Prospect Primary School.

Mr Christopher originally thought it to be Troy Clarke because he, too, had a play-fight with Ali at The Central School but it turned out not to be him.

“When Gene took the photographs, as I was intimately involved in the exercise, he gave me several copies and I gave them to people to whom I felt they deserved copies, like Olive Trott and Troy Clarke,” he said.

“Troy said the photographer must have taken a picture of every punch thrown, but over the years they have all disappeared.”

Do you know the boy play-fighting with Muhammad Ali in this shot at Prospect Primary in 1974? Please contact The Royal Gazette news team at news@royalgazette.com if you know who he is — or if it is you!

You wanna a piece of me: Muhammad Ali prepares to unload on an awestruck student in a staged fight during his 1974 visit. Can anyone identify the student? (Photograph by Gene Ray)
The Pied Piper got nothing on me: Muhammad Ali has the students of Prospect Primary in stride with his step (Photograph by Gene Ray)
An apple a day, young 'un: Muhammad Ali not only regaled with his boxing exploits during his visit, but he also passed on sound advice during this dental hygiene class (Photograph by Gene Ray)
I'm so pretty: Muhammad Ali was presented an artist's impression during his visit. Standing alongside are the late Olive Trott, then the Miss Bermuda organiser, and Wentworth Christopher (Photograph by Gene Ray)

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Published June 07, 2016 at 9:00 am (Updated June 07, 2016 at 10:52 am)

A love affair with the camera

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