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‘It’s the best thing he’s ever done’ - Specialist gym for those with disabilities opens in Norwich

PUBLISHED: 16:00 24 November 2018 | UPDATED: 16:16 24 November 2018

Rhys Franklin and dad Paul boxing at an Able2B Boxing class, specially designed to optimise the aerobic fitness and muscular strength of disabled children and adults. PICTURE: ELLA WILKINSON

Rhys Franklin and dad Paul boxing at an Able2B Boxing class, specially designed to optimise the aerobic fitness and muscular strength of disabled children and adults. PICTURE: ELLA WILKINSON

Archant

Youngsters with disabilities donned their boxing gloves to take part in a four-hour boxathon to mark the opening of a new specialised gym.

Social enterprise Able2B officially open their gym in Gilchrist Close, Norwich on Saturday, and families packed out the space to support those behind the sessions which make a big difference to a number of families.

The initiative, which was set up in 2016 by consultant orthopaedic surgeon Rachael Hutchinson and retired British boxing champion and personal trainer Jon Thaxton, aims to help people with a disability to optimise their aerobic fitness and muscle strength, improve their self belief, concentration and self confidence.

Mrs Hutchinson said: “It’s more than just fitness. It’s to try and change perceptions for the individual, their family, and society to say where we are setting goals might not be high enough.

“For anyone who has a child with a disability or acquires a disability through for example a stroke, it’s often about what is wrong. It’s about saying just because you’ve got that label does not mean your goals cannot be high.”

Able2B Boxing classes, specially designed to optimise the aerobic fitness and muscular strength of disabled children and adults. PICTURE: ELLA WILKINSONAble2B Boxing classes, specially designed to optimise the aerobic fitness and muscular strength of disabled children and adults. PICTURE: ELLA WILKINSON

Heidi Franklin’s son Rhys, 11, has hemiplegia cerebral palsy and had been going to Able2B sessions for more than a year. It was thanks to surgery, performed by Mrs Hutchinson in 2011, that he was able to walk.

Mrs Franklin, 43 and from Mulbarton, said: “It is the best thing he’s ever done, he’s tried a few different sports but he wants to do it, he wants to get to the session.”

Mrs Franklin’s husband Paul, 41, a builder, was boxing with his son at Saturday’s event.

Mrs Franklin said: “It’s made his arms quite strong, my husband said his punch is so hard.”

Left to right, Sophie Clarke, Morgan Clarke, Mandy Seaton, and Lewis Clarke. At an Able2B Boxing class, specially designed to optimise the aerobic fitness and muscular strength of disabled children and adults. PICTURE: ELLA WILKINSONLeft to right, Sophie Clarke, Morgan Clarke, Mandy Seaton, and Lewis Clarke. At an Able2B Boxing class, specially designed to optimise the aerobic fitness and muscular strength of disabled children and adults. PICTURE: ELLA WILKINSON

Mandy Seaton brought her 11-year-old twins Sophie and Lewis Clarke, who also have cerebral palsy to the sessions all the way from Wisbech as she found them so helpful. She said: “This is fantastic for them.”

Mrs Hutchinson said she hoped to develop the initiative further, as she felt it was unique and was getting good results. She added: “Some of the children have said they’re going to do all four hours of the boxathon. They might not do it, but that in itself to me is inspiring because every single child in there has got an issue so them wanting to do that for four hours is incredible.”

Able2B Boxing classes, specially designed to optimise the aerobic fitness and muscular strength of disabled children and adults. PICTURE: ELLA WILKINSONAble2B Boxing classes, specially designed to optimise the aerobic fitness and muscular strength of disabled children and adults. PICTURE: ELLA WILKINSON

Able2B Boxing classes, specially designed to optimise the aerobic fitness and muscular strength of disabled children and adults. PICTURE: ELLA WILKINSONAble2B Boxing classes, specially designed to optimise the aerobic fitness and muscular strength of disabled children and adults. PICTURE: ELLA WILKINSON

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