Smeltings Amateur Boxing Club head coach Garry Cave in the club's new gym in Avonmouth, which Charlotte Leslie, Conservative prospective MP for Bristol North West, helped secure vital funding for.
An amateur boxing club in Avonmouth is celebrating six months in a new purpose-built gym and training facility.
For more than 30 years, young boxers at the National Smelting Amateur Boxing Club on Barrack’s Lane trained in what was no more than a glorified shed. It was rat-infested and taller fighters had to duck while in the small practise ring to avoid the low beams. Coaches even had to turn some keen youngsters away as there was space inside was very limited.
Nevertheless, over the years the club did punch above its weight, especially when Nick Wiltshire represented the UK in the Moscow Olympics.
Now, however, the club has got a training facility to be proud of. This is thanks in no small part to the efforts of club President and Bristol North West prospective Conservative MP Charlotte Leslie, who helped raise part of the £68,000 needed to pay for the new building.
Up to 40 young boxers from aged 10 and up train three times a week at the club under the watchful gaze of head coach Garry Cave and his team.
Garry, 40, from Thornbury, whose 12-year-old son Tom boxes for the club, said that the new building has made an enormous difference.
He said: “We simply could not carry on as we were doing. We were turning people away at the door as we didn’t have the space.
“Now we’ve got the space, it’s great. It feels like we’ve won the lottery. It feels like a different club now we have got this purpose-built facility that will hopefully last another 30 or 40 years.
“I have been coach here for 10 years now. Somebody helped coach me when I was younger, and now it feels right and well worth it me doing it for somebody else, especially now in our new gym.
Club President and Bristol North West prospective Conservative MP Charlotte Leslie added: “I’ve seen first-hand how boxing can transform the lives of young people – some of whom could otherwise veer off onto the wrong path in life.
“Amateur boxing clubs like this, that transform lives and get fantastic results, are only possible thanks to the dedication and efforts of people like Garry Cave. What Garry’s done here with boxing is superb and I’m very proud to be President of the National Smelting Amateur Boxing Club.”
The National Smelting Amateur Boxing Club is holding their next boxing show on Thursday, May 20 at the Pill Memorial Club. All money raised will go directly back to the club.
Tickets cost £10 for over-18s and £5 for under-18s. Doors are at 7pm and the first bell is at 8pm. For tickets and more information, telephone 01275 372176 or visit www.smeltersboxing.com