A boxing club in Hebden Bridge launched a fundraiser this month to secure enough money to stay open.
The club, a not-for-profit organisation run by volunteers, has so far raised £2,696 out of the £5,000 needed to stay open.
The club, established 14 years ago and affiliated with the English Boxing Association in 2008, provides a vital service in the area to keep people away from drink, drugs and crime.
Clayton Varey, club founder and head coach, said: “It’s absolutely brilliant, I was really shocked to see how much everyone’s donated to us, even people that I don’t even know.”
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The club was knocked down by the pandemic and forced to shut its doors, forcing Mr Varey to dig into his own pockets to keep the club afloat.
He then launched a fundraiser to ensure the club stays open.
The club is selling clothing, posters, and even a signed glove donated by Tyson Fury.
Mr Varey stressed how important the club is to the area, and how vital it is to keep it going.
“14 years ago, there was no boxing club in the Calder valley, there are no youth clubs anymore, and the drink and drugs in Hebden Bridge, Mytholmroyd and Luddendon was massive,” said Mr Varey.
“I’ve changed a lot of lives- not just me but my other coaches as well- I’m not taking all the glory. We’ve changed a lot of people’s lives around here.
“You’ve got to look at the bigger picture, you’ve got kids coming in from the estate who aren’t going to be boxers, they just come to get out of the house.
“We are like a community, to tell the truth.”
The club looks to reopen on 12 th April, as per Boris Johnson’s latest guidelines, but without any sparring or pad work, for now.
Mr Varey welcomes everyone to the club, once open, and said: “Come to my boxing club and I promise you, after you’ve been in my club for one session, you’ll see how friendly everyone is.
“We’re a community and we have a laugh.”
Mr Varey points to the support of his wife, and club secretary, Angela Walker to help keep the club going.
He said: “My wife has stood by me all the way because she understands what boxing means to me and means to the local community. She’s with me all the way.
“It has been hard, and we do need it.”
Anyone wanting to donate to the fundraiser can find details here: https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/hebden-bridge-boxing-club