Walk­ers step in to help box­ers

Middlesbrough Herald & Post - - HERALD & POST -

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

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