'Put down the knives and put on the gloves' Hainault Boxing clubs needs funds to help young people
PUBLISHED: 12:30 12 October 2018
For more than 60 years a boxing club has been helping young people in the borough, but now it needs yours.
GatorABC is a group for eight to 30-year-olds that instils odd fashion values of discipline, punctuality, respect for others and self-control.
It said it provides an alternative to hanging out on street corners and getting involved in trouble for no reason and it encourages young people to learn something positive.
Chairman, floor sweeper and toilet cleaner Keith Markham, said the club is run on DBS checked volunteers and despite fundraising, it desperately needs sponsorship in any guise to keep going in Fowler Road, Hainault.
“This group is a lifeline for a lot of children and keeps them off the streets and give them a social outlet - some of them even go out for dinner,” he said
“It makes them better kids and it caters for all races and creeds
“If they see something on the street they don’t need to prove anything or get involved in trouble as they know they can fight.”
The club was first established in 1958 and was named the Barnardo’s Woodford Garden City club but in the 1970s the charity and the group parted ways.
Member chose a new name after taking inspiration from a well-known crocodile sports brand, which was all the rage at the time.
Keith has been involved with the club for the last 40 years and said many past members comeback to run sessions as the group was so influential to them growing up.
He said the club is his hobby and passion and despite being retired he is busy with it most weeknights and some weekends – a decision his wife lovingly tolerates.
“We like to keep the cost of the sessions down as some people come two or three times a week - it adds up, especially if siblings go,” he added.
“We want to make it inclusive to people and for some £2 is nothing but for others £2 is everything and I don’t want to have to charge them more.
“We’re a not-for-profit - we are not trying to make money, we just want to keep going for the young people.
“If anyone or businesses can help it would mean so much, either a one-off sum or a small standing order or even a larger contribution.”
GatorABC does not receive any money from the council or other organisations and running costs, including paying for a property to train in, is all raised by volunteers and participants.
The club holds lots of fundraising sessions throughout the year but said the annual dinners shows are not as financially successful as they were in the past.
Despite being an amateur boxing club the group caters for everyone from “absolute beginners to those participating in competitions” and recently some of the boys won international medals.
It also offers nutritional advice and claims that being a successful athlete is about more than just sweating it out in the gym.
The young people learn how to fuel their bodies and are told that without sufficient nutrient and calorie intake, performance can suffer as muscles will begin to break down and speed and strength will be compromised.
.”I am not saying all the lads are angels, I have had some colourful characters through the years, but 99per cent of them have turned out to be good kids,” he said.
“Lots of past members come back to give back.
“I hope kids will dump the knife and get off the streets and put their boxing gloves on.
“We don’t care who you are or where you came from or what your religion is, just come along and we will look after you.”
If you can help call Keith on 07802936432 or visit gatorabc.co.uk