A Medway boxing club which was
threatened with closure can build a new purpose built gym thanks to
a massive cash boost from Sport England.
St Mary’s Amateur Boxing Club,
needed to find a new base when the building it used in Street End
Road, Chatham, was sold at auction.
Since the sale supporters have
been on a fundraising drive to build a new gym on land purchased by
the club in Shipwrights Avenue in the town.
However, building work could now start soon after the club was
awarded £50,000 from Sport England’s Inspired Facilities
The cash will enable the club's committee to provide a purpose
built boxing club gym for members.
The club faced an uncertain future in July 2011, when its home was
sold for more than £300,000.
Since then fundraisers have been
busy holding events to raise enough cash to build the new facility
and have themselves raised more than £40,000.
The new club will cost around
£120,000 and will take about three months to complete.
The Sport England cash will secure the club’s future for the next
generation of champion boxers.
Former world champion Johnny Armour (pictured above), heavyweight
Tom Dallas and top boxing referee Ian John-Lewis all began their
careers at St Mary’s ABC.
Previously club secretary Simon Tindall said the club plans to take
things to a new level once they move into the new facility.
He said: “The club we’re going to build is going to be a lot
bigger. We’re going to have an area for parents and disabled
“It’s quite a deprived area so we’re hoping we can do stuff with
the community and youth organisations.
“We want to take it a little bit beyond a boxing club.”
Eventually the club hopes to become an Amateur Boxing Association
Regional Development club, which would mean St Mary’s could hold
tournaments and provide training for coaches.
Mr Tindall added: "As a club we are delighted to be able to now
start the project of building a new facility to secure the future
of "St Mary' s ABC in Medway for ever
without fear of closure, something that has never
been achieved until now.
"So its a great achievement for all those who stuck with the club
and worked to make this day a reality."
Tracey Crouch, MP for Chatham, also welcomed the news.
She said: “This is
really good news for the club, its members and for the local
“The club has been part of the
local community for over 50 years and as a boxing fan, I hope this
investment and the new facilities as part of the Olympic legacy
programme will help the club continue to help launch the careers of
our next generation of boxing talent.”