Leicester Mercury

Appeal to save Carl’s boxing gym launched


- By CHRIS JONES chris.jones@reachplc.com @chrisjones­sport Gofundme.com

A FUND-RAISING appeal has been created to help save a community boxing gym.

Carl Gunns has been running his gym in Birstall for 19 years, and has welcomed thousands of young people there over the years.

However, because of the pandemic, he has seen a catastroph­ic loss of business.

Carl told the Mercury earlier this week that he simply was not making enough money to continue running the gym, and his days were numbered.

After reading the article, former gym attendee Callum Hirst decided he wanted to do something to help and set up the fund-raiser.

The 28-year-old said: “I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Carl for over 15 years, and actually used to attend the gym when I was younger.

“I always looked forward to going, as well as participat­ing in the fundraiser­s at the Birstall gala.

“I saw the post on Leicesters­hireLive (the Mercury’s website) and had to do something.

“I know how much the gym means to Carl and how much love he has for the gym.”

Callum said the closure of the gym would be a great loss to the community, and the hundreds of people who used it before the lockdown.

“It’s a go-to place for kids and teenagers in the area if they want to train,” he said.

“Obviously it’s massively beneficial for their mental wellbeing as well as the fitness side of things, and keeps them off the streets. I think if Gunns’ Gym was to close its doors it would be a very sad day for the Birstall community, as well as the surroundin­g areas.

“Carl’s a top bloke and I have a lot of time and respect for him.”

Carl said that he would not be able to continue past November with the way things were going.

Callum said he was hoping his appeal would raise as much as he can to help keep the gym open for as long as possible.

So far, the fundraiser has raised more than £1,300, and Callum said he hoped more people would donate.

Carl didn’t know anything about the fund-raiser and said the comments he has had since announcing he may have to close his gym have been “tremendous”.

“I have just got to hold tight now but it’s going in the right direction,” he added. “It has been tremendous and I’m really excited, to tell the truth.

“I’m quite proud, to be honest, and I feel a lot better now than I did last week. I did get upset talking on the radio about it and that’s not like me. To lose the gym means a lot to me but now it looks as though we might get out of it.

“The comments I’ve had from people have been unbelievab­le. “I’m so grateful.”

If you wish to contribute to help keep the gym open, search for “Keep Gunns gym running” at:

 ?? PETER FOTHERGILL ?? ‘TREMENDOUS SUPPORT’: Carl Gunns at his gym in Birstall
PETER FOTHERGILL ‘TREMENDOUS SUPPORT’: Carl Gunns at his gym in Birstall

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