Brand new kit adds some extra punch to historic Norwich boxing club

Norwich Lads Club president and Lord Mayor Brenda Arthur, who with David Walker from the Norwich Cha

Norwich Lads Club president and Lord Mayor Brenda Arthur, who with David Walker from the Norwich Charitable Trust, visited to see the members with their new kit bought with a grant.PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY - Credit: SIMON FINLAY

After almost 100 years of training generations of boxers Norwich Lads Club has been given a fresh stamp of approval with the gift of a new kit and gym equipment.

Norwich Lads Club boxing night at Sprowston Manor on Saturday night <0228> Frank Sictorness, blue, v

Norwich Lads Club boxing night at Sprowston Manor on Saturday night <0228> Frank Sictorness, blue, v Billy Drohan Photo: Bill Smith Copy: Sport For: EEN Sport Archant © 2009 01603 772434 - Credit: Archant © 2009

It is courtesy of a grant of £12,000 from the Norwich Town Close Estate Charity and the efforts of two new chairmen steering the club in a new direction.

Both parents of children at the gym, Bruce Hughes and Stuart Blunden stepped up six months ago to deal with administration.

Alan Weston, a coach at the 98-year-old club since 1997 said the pair had been 'absolutely magic for the club.' 'They leave the boxing side of things to the coaches, and they have taken over the business side where before we had one or two people trying to do everything,' he said.

The new kit is colour coded according to ability, giving young people an incentive to progress.

Mr Hughes said their aim had been to make the club 'more family and community orientated'.

'It is about trying to get that bit of unity that might have been lacking before,' he said.

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'This grant has regenerated the club and made the young people more enthusiastic about it. It is giving identity to young people on the floor and the ability to achieve what they want in the club. All we expect back is commitment.

'We want to encourage them to take healthy risks, and in the long term give them a platform to change. They can win or lose but they have to learn from it.'

Mr Blunden, a parent of a child at the club for nine years, said he got involved because he feared for its future.

'We are on the brink of 100 years and we may not have made it,' he said.

'It can be very daunting for a young child to come to a spit and sawdust kind of place, so we want to make it welcoming and take the club up to the next level.'

The pair had approached David Walker, of the Norwich Town Close Estate Charity, with their vision for the club before securing the grant.

'This is a vibrant club which provides the opportunity for young people to get engaged with exercise in a social environment,' said Mr Walker. 'The club has a long track record of being part of the fabric of Norfolk and the need for all the things they provide is as great now as it ever was.'

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