Walkers step in to help boxers
A STRUGGLING boxing club can now take on a more professional persona thanks to a £1,000 donation.
Middlesbrough Amateur Boxing Club plans to use the money to buy matching tracksuits for its members when it competes further afield, to make them fit in with other, more affluent, clubs.
The cash, pledged by walking group The Boro Walkers Association, means the club can also buy much-needed equipment.
Based in North Ormesby, the club’s classes are attended by scores of youngsters each week.
Owner Tony Whitby started as a boxer himself before taking over the club when he retired.
It moved to its current premises, North Ormesby Hub, from The Princess Alice pub in 1999.
Tony, 57, said: “It gives the kids some self-respect.
“We’ve got kids that have never thrown a punch in their lives and they have learned to defend themselves.
“We’ve got kids who are bullied. It means a lot to them to keep coming here.
“I would take more members if I could but I don’t have room. It’s a lifeline for some of these kids.
“I’ve always loved boxing - they call my wife a boxing widow!”
Tony would next like to take his members on a trip abroad. He has previously run trips to Northern Ireland and Chicago, but says it takes “years” to save to cash to go.
Pete Livingston from The Boro Walkers Association said: “We started fundraising three years ago. Through our walks we have raised about £83,000.
“We have got three or four events planned and we are targeting the £100,0000 mark, which I am sure we will get to.
“Those kids at risk of loitering around with nothing to do - we always keep a bit back for emergencies like this so we have about £1,000 to donate.
“We are going to make them another donation towards the end of the year, when we are in a better position.
“Hopefully that will help them out and we can save this gym for the kids.”
Middlesbrough Amateur Boxing Club takes members aged nine and older.
If you would like to donate to the club, visit the Boro Walkers’ website at www.borowalkers.org