A ‘drive-by’ of scooters and sports cars is being planned through Bristol this weekend, in tribute to a popular scooter expert, boxing coach and father-of-six who died suddenly late last month.
And this weekend, a major boxing show will also be dedicated to Dan Milkins, as people across the South Bristol community donate to a fundraiser set up in his memory.
Dan was taken ill late in October, and had his 55th birthday at the BRI before undergoing an emergency operation in London, from which, tragically, he did not survive.
His death has shocked many in Knowle West and Bedminster, and across South Bristol, and tributes have flooded in to his large, grieving family.
Dan lived for years in Torrington Avenue in Knowle West, where his family are the driving forces behind that street’s famous display of support for England during football tournaments.
A driver by trade, he was best known in South Bristol for his passion for elaborate scooters, love for the Mod scene and the band Madness. For years he was an assistant at Skemer’s Boxing Gym in Knowle West, training young boxers, and only recently qualified as a licensed boxing coach.
Two of his six sons, Reece and Clark, followed their father’s footsteps into the boxing ring, and this Saturday night, an already planned boxing night at Imperial Sports Centre in West Town Lane is now being dedicated to Dan.
Many of the fighters from Skemer’s Gym will have been trained by Dan for years, and Chris ‘Skemer’ Winters said Dan was still very much a presence at the gym.
“He’s been helping out on and off for eight years, but in the past few years really threw himself into it,” he said.
“He’s always helped train the kids, but before Covid he took all his courses and applied for the licences and he got his accreditation that allowed him to be in the corners, but then Covid happened and it all stopped, so it is a tragedy that just when we were coming back putting on boxing shows, and he could be in the corner, he’s passed away.
“He was a boxer himself in his younger days, and two of his lads got in the ring. I still can’t believe he’s gone. I used to come into the gym three evenings a week and I’d look at the clock and it would come to 7.30 and he’d be there on the dot, parking his van up right outside and coming in, always telling loads of bad jokes. He was such a lovely guy, really funny and one of the original Torrington Avenue crew, where all his family live,” he added.
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Mr Winters said Dan was best known in South Bristol for being the man to go to if you needed a scooter or moped or wanted yours fixed. “He was a bit of a Mod in his younger days and built loads of amazing scooters from scratch, custom-built.
“He’d get the shell and the registration plates and documents, and then create incredible scooters. He once did one that was Rocky Marciano-themed, it was amazing. He was very clever. He loved all that, the Quadrophenia stuff, and Madness. He was also a huge Bristol City fan, so it was a nightmare in the gym if Rovers lost and City won.
“The best picture I’ve got of him was him proudly holding up his lanyard with his boxing coach accreditation on – he worked hard for it, and he’d only just got it. That pic I’ve had blown up 8ftx4ft and it’s up in the gym so he’ll always be a presence here with the younger ones he coached,” he added.
One of his close friends on the moped and scooter scene in Bristol, Steffan Block, has set up.
“He was a well known chap and much respected gentleman around Bristol for his love for people, his children, his scooters and boxing,” said Steffan.
“His infectious smile and laughter was so amazing. Danny would glow when he walked into a crowd, and made friends wherever he went.
“He shall be surely missed on this planet and the world will certainly not be the same without his cheeky attitude,” he added.
The ‘drive-by’ will be a fundraiser too, and takes place on Sunday, November 14, starting at 1pm on Filwood Broadway.
Scores of elaborate scooters and mopeds are expected to take part, along with super cars and sports cars. The route takes in much of Knowle West and Knowle, including Broadwalk and Torrington Avenue.
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