A charity has been launched in memory of former heavyweight British boxing champion Gary Mason.

Mason died when he was knocked off his bike during a collision with a white van in Sandy Lane South, Wallington, on January 6.

The Gary Mason charity was launched this week by the Roundshaw estate resident’s friends and family, and will expand the work done by the 48-year-old’s social enterprise Rhythmical Empowerment Group.

The project, which Mr Mason set up in Sutton and dedicated himself to in the three years prior to his death, works to uplift and help people through African drumming.

It has also helped disabled children, and people with learning difficulties.

It also had a mentoring scheme where the unemployed and ex-offenders were offered the chance of training and working as instructors.

His sister Angela said: “Gary loved the work he was doing, and we have heard how much good it was doing.

“We wanted the good work to continue in his memory.”

Trustee Christine Lindsay said by becoming a charity, new funding streams would be available, as well as the chance to take donations.

The boxing world is expected to make considerable donations. It is hoped it will host a fundraising event in memory of Gary, who was British Heavyweight champion between 1989 and 1991.

Mason’s family is also suggesting donations can be made instead of flowers at his funeral.

Trustee of the charity and close friend to Mason, Christine Lindsay, said by launching as a charity the organisation had the best possible chance of the group becoming a more national venture.

She said: “Gary was passionate about how drumming could help rebalance the mind and spirit, and had never been happier in life than the last year, when he saw a bright future in prospect as we approach the 2012 Olympics.”

Drummer Zedikiah Morgan, who taught Mason to drum, is to return to the organisation to help run the groups.

A meeting will be held at the end of this month for people who want to get involved.

Find out more about the charity, and make a donation, at gary-mason-charity.org Gary Mason’s funeral takes place at All Saints Church, Carshalton, at noon on Friday, February 11.

Mason’s coffin will be on display from 9pm to noon in the church on Thursday, February 10, for mourners to pay their respects.