Bill Carne recently caught up with Steve Glover, the well-known local farrier, who is also a highly-regarded boxing referee and judge across the whole of South Wales . . .

Steve Glover is perhaps best known as a farrier who looks after horses aplenty in the north of the county but as well as maintaining an equine interest in a variety of areas he is also heavily involved in a range of other sports, especially in amateur boxing, where he is an accredited judge and referee.

Steve spends up to three evenings a week at boxing shows across South Wales with his colleagues, led by John Phillips (Narberth) as tournament official in charge as he judges some bouts and then steps into the ring for others as an experienced referee who has taken charge of hundreds of bouts.

Steve started his involvement with the 'noble art' when he was in school in Kent and had 30 bouts as a schoolboy and youth boxer, winning well over half of them. Then when he was an apprentice farrier he boxed for three years as a senior with Cardigan ABC and when he moved into Pembrokeshire when he had qualified he joined Merlins Bridge ABC and began helping out Graham Brockway as a coach since his son Tom had taken up the sport.

Steve attended his assistant coaching course over six weeks at St Joseph's College, Newport, which ended with a written and practical examination, as it did at the same venue two years later when he took the full Welsh Coaching certificate under the tuition of Tony Williams, from the Welsh Elite squad, and Keith Jeffries, a hugely respected coach/tutor from Cwmbran.

"It meant a great deal of travel," admitted Steve, "but it was well worth it because I learned so much there."

Tom, who is now also a farrier, had almost 50 bouts at Merlins Bridge and reached five Welsh ABA finals, only to narrowly miss out on being Welsh champion every time. He now plays football for West Dragons and helped them to promotion last season as well as being involved in the cup final.

"There were cracking shows to savour in Haverfordwest as Merlins Bridge was rightly regarded as one of the best clubs in Wales and one of the undoubted highlights for me came when Wayne and Chris O'Sullivan, both from Fishguard, won their Welsh titles.

"It was great to be involved with Graham and them." said Steve, "and I will never forget being there at that time."

From there Steve helped coach Welsh junior squads and whilst talking to John Phillips at one show the topic turned eventually to officiating at shows and Mr Phillips is a persuasive talker - so the next stage in his boxing involvement began as he joined John and Co on the rounds of shows in the South West region. .

Again he took steps to qualify and is now a recognised Grade One judge and referee.

"The next rung on the ladder would be to gain my IABA (International Amateur Boxing Association) qualification but that means a trip to Switzerland so it might be a while yet," says Steve with a chuckle!

As well as his boxing participation, Steve has always been involved with horses from the time he was a nipper, taking part in show jumping and cross country events. He enjoyed helping out with racehorses at a nearby stables and one of his undoubted claims to fame was the fact that he helped school 'Churchdown Boy', who is best known for winning the Topham Trophy at Aintree and just two days later going back to compete in the Grand National - and came an amazing second to the legendary Red Rum for trainer John Thomas at Gelli Fawr!

Steve still keeps up his equine interest with a couple of show hunter ponies (one of which came second at last year's county show) and he sponsors some local point to point and pony racing. Steve also enjoys hunting and fishing (as long as anything caught is eaten) and has won almost every clay-pigeon shoot in the area at some time - and was 'high gun' at prestigious events like Mathry and a little further afield at Sealand Manor in Shropshire. Not content with that little lot, Steve also stewards at the Royal Welsh Show and the Staffordshire County Show and acts as a judge in farriery competitions.

In his younger days, Steve played football as a striker for St Gregory's School in Tunbridge Wells and was also a county-standard athlete in 400, 800 and 1,500 metres, and he coached Camrose Youth team as well as doing some refereeing - and his work helps to keep him fit today.

Ask him about major influences and he would be quick to nominate his wife Shirley, who has also taken an interest in ponies but like his late parents supported him to the full in all his sporting activities. Then there is his older brother Michael, who rowed for Cambridge, and is now a vet who ran in the recent London Marathon, plus Tom Williams, who taught him all he knew about farriery at Herefordshire College and put up with all his antics. These are joined by John Selby, his former boss who gave Steve his chance to pursue his chosen career.

Going back to boxing for a moment, one only has to chat to Steve for a short while to see how much he enjoys it. As a judge he is eagle-eyed, focusing on every punch thrown, and as a referee is calm and assured, giving clear instructions to boxers and making sure that they are all, especially the younger ones, kept as safe as possible in the ring.

"Steve has developed into a very good official," said John Phillips, “and is held in high regard by his colleagues, the trainers and the boxers."

Coming from someone who has officiated at over 1.200 bouts himself it is a huge compliment to Steve Glover and we wish him continued success in a sporting interest he already serves with distinction!