A Preston dad is appealing for £10,000 to keep alive a boxing club set up after a ‘savage’ attack on his son.
Paul Morris set up Penwortham Boxing Club three years ago after his 14-year-old son was beaten up on a park in Kingsfold amid what he says was a growing culture of “anti-social behaviour” on the estate.
More than 20 children attend free sessions at weekends with a similar number throughout the week.
Paul, a Level 2 England boxing coach, said: “My son got savagely beaten three years ago. My son was 14 and he got battered off a lad who was 17 or 18.
“We live on a gang and anti-social behaviour ridden estate, whether people like to admit it or not it’s got problems.”
The events led to Paul spending around £600 of his own money on equipment such as skipping ropes and mats to hold free sessions for local children on Kingsfold Park.
This eventually led to the birth of Penwortham Boxing Club, which caters for around 100 people every week.
However, after investing around £10,500 of his own money into the club – which is based at Vernon Carus Sports Centre – Paul has found himself at a financial loss.
He plans to further expand the club by renovating the other half of the current building as well as resurfacing the outdoor area to provide a space for training in the summer months.
Currently, the plans cannot go ahead as the funding is scarce and difficult to source.
Although Paul does charge adults for their weekly classes, he realises that not everyone can afford to pay.
Paul said: “Those that can’t afford come for free – because I don’t think it’s fair that anyone shouldn’t be able to better themselves, do something they enjoy, improve their mentality, get rid of depression, get rid of body fat and basically have fun out of not being able to afford it.”
Paul says the club is managing to survive because of the fees the 40 women who attend his classes every week pay.
“The ladies are keeping the gym going at the minute, God bless them,” he said.
Paul grants the rise of women at the gym to the ‘all round’ fitness benefits that boxing provides for toning up and losing weight.
Nejla Hopes, club member and a Learning Support worker, said: “Having Paul here is like having a personal trainer.
“I think what he’s doing for the children is absolutely brilliant, trying to get them out of crime and give them a different focus.”
Penwortham Boxing Club runs free sessions every Saturday, with under 11s at 9am, and over 11s at 10am.
To help Penwortham Boxing Club reach its goal of £10,000 you can donate on his Go Fund Me page.