Gary hopes new club will be a knockout success

PLANS to form Alnwick Amateur Boxing Club have received an encouraging response.

Gary Pattinson, who wants to kick-start the group in the town, is delighted by the positive support it has mustered so far.

But to help it get off the ground and unlock vital funding, recruits are needed to form a committee – including filling the roles of treasurer, secretary and welfare officer – as well as finding potential coaches and other volunteers.

Speaking on Tuesday after a public meeting to discuss forming the club, Gary, 41, from Alwynside, said: “We have identified like-minded people willing to be involved directly with the management of the club and I have received numerous emails of support wanting to join in different capacities from fitness training to volunteering but I am still keen to hear from anyone else.

“We intend to meet again within the next two weeks to structure the committee formally.”

Vic Brady, community sports manager for North Country Leisure – which is supporting the club – said that grant applications are being made, including to Sport England for up to £10,000 of funds.

She added: “It might come down to some community fund-raising but we are putting in grant applications to cover the club’s first year, including buying equipment and start-up costs, and hopefully after that the club will become self-sustainable.

“But unless we have got people who are willing to join the committee, we can’t progress and move forward.

“We have to set up a committee and become a constitutional group to access grants.”

Gary, who hopes to be club chairman – at least for the first year to ensure it moves in the right direction – said that boxing offers many benefits, such as instilling confidence and teaching life-lessons.

The club will be open to all ages, abilities and genders and while there are rough plans to break it up into four groups – eight to 12-year-olds, 13 to 16-year-olds, intermediates and competition boxers – nothing is set in stone and demand will shape its direction.

A facility for the community, it would be open to people wanting to increase their fitness, with scope for boxercise classes.

A planning application has been submitted to Northumberland County Council to change the use of the town’s St Thomas’ Close workshops and turn them into a suitable home for the club, which could be up and running by the end of April/beginning of May.

Alnwick Town Council has given a grant towards the project while town and county councillor Gordon Castle has pledged a financial contribution through his members’ small schemes allowance.

For more information or to volunteer, contact Gary by emailing gary.pattinson2@btinternet.com or calling 07738 364349.