Boxers mark four years
JANUARY marked four years since Downend Boxing Club moved in to the Harry Crook Centre.
During the lockdown, members and volunteers have been sharing memories online, and it is amazing to see how much has taken place in a relatively short space of time.
The empty hall looked a daunting sight when we first saw it, needing re-decorating. However, through the wonderful and tireless efforts of volunteers, it took on a new lease of life.
A generous grant from Bristol City Council's sport department followed, and a full-size international ring and state-of-the art weight apparatus was installed.
Within three weeks of opening, the centre played host to the West of England regional youth championships, and other tournaments have followed. We hosted boxers from the RAF and Army when they were deployed in the area, and an international training day followed. As a result, the England talent team brought an open talent day to the centre, and the best young athletes from all over the country attended.
The centre also serves as an England Boxing educational venue, with coaches and officials attending to gain vital qualifications and safeguarding knowledge. Around 40 new coaches from across the country have attended and qualified.
Four of our young people have boxed for England since we have been here, with numerous national and international medals won.
More importantly, scores of young people have gained a healthy alternative to the knife and gang violence that we hear so much about, and gone on to careers and better lifestyles, thanks to the discipline that boxing offers.
Not bad for a small former boys' club: I’m sure former Lord Mayor of Bristol, Alderman Harry Crook, would have approved.