A new boxing club starting in Whitby this week got so hot and steamy it set off the smoke alarms and proved so popular it couldn’t fit everyone in.
Over 60 people turned up to the first sparring session on Saturday where former professional boxer Paul Ingle and GB Olympic team boxer Amanda Coulson were looking on.
And, on Tuesday night at the first of three weekly sessions, over 80 people aged between 11 and 25 turned out.
The team of volunteers who have spent the last year trying to get the club off the ground have been knocked out by the success so far.
PCSO Lynne Butler from Whitby Police started setting up the club a year ago after youngsters hanging around on the streets of Whitby said they were struggling to find affordable things to do.
She said: “The turn out was unbelievable and we have been asked by no end of parents ‘when can nine year-olds start’. I was expecting about 25 people but did not expect that.
“It has taken just over a year and it really has been a stress at times but Saturday and Tuesday night proved what I thought – it was definitely needed in Whitby.
“Some lads will be aching like crazy as the effort they put in was amazing.”
The steam set off the smoke alarms at the club’s base at the Scout Hut on Spring Hill as around 35, 11 to 15 year-olds and 45, 15 to 25 year-olds were put through their paces.
Former amateur boxer, Sam Dryden who is now a fully qualified ABA coach showed them basic boxing moves such as jabs, shadow boxing as well as pad work and fitness.
He said: “It was brilliant and everyone really enjoyed themselves. There was a real friendly atmosphere. One lad came and was crying and we put our arm around him and by the time he left he had a big smile on his face.
“Money can’t buy the buzz I have today and it was a pleasure to train them. People say boxing is violent but it teaches them discipline. They don’t have to come and fight, a lot do it just for the fitness.”
The boxing club is now on the look out for more equipment and if it continues like it has this week, maybe even bigger premises.
Lynne added: “There were quite a mixture there. We had some kids from Fyling Hall School and we had different areas of the community coming together.
“They would not mix or even be friends outside of this so it is breaking down barriers for them. There were lads there in their 20s that I dealt with years ago and they said ‘thankyou, we have needed this for such a long time’. That makes it worthwhile.”
Sessions are £1 each and are held on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday between 6pm and 7pm for 11 to 15 year olds and 7.15pm and 8.15pm for 15 to 25 year olds.