A BOXING club which started from humble beginnings now has fighters competing at a national level while maintaining a family feel.

Using space in a small community hall south of Hereford city in 2007, South Wye Police Boxing Academy started from very humble beginnings.

Based in Hinton, with basic equipment and little spare cash to their name, what the boxing club lacked in apparatus they readily made up with enthusiasm and vision.

Today the gym facilities have doubled in size and provide state of the art facilities often used by England Boxing national training camps.

They have a regular schedule of open mixed ability training sessions available for men, women, children and local schools including the Pupil Referral Unit who have specialised training sessions at the club.

Bev Moate, club treasurer, said that the club has become a home from home for many boxers.

"The ethos of the club is very much that of a family, with everyone looking out for each other and supporting each other when we can," said Moate.

"Coaches readily promote a positive community spirit, one of taking personal responsibility for our actions, being respectful of each other, and protecting each other’s rights.

"The boxers work hard at their training, but there is always a lot of fun and laughter too.

I became involved with the boxing club through my voluntary work with Hinton Community Centre, helping the centre to raise funds to enable the continuation of all the work that’s done there."

Over the years the boxing club has helped to raise over £40,000 for local charities.

During lockdown Lindsey Mackenzie organised club members to be involved with a D-Day challenge to raise money for the Pilgrim Bandit charity.

The boxing club also helped to support Hinton Community Centre in the floods of February when the centre became a designated safe shelter.

Club members helped to provide food and drink to those affected by the flooding and working with local hotels to provide overnight hotel accommodation for those displaced from their homes.

During the current Covid-19 crisis the club have given away over 200 isolation packs for children and young adults to train at home, these include new gloves, pads, rope and wraps, with people logging on the interactive sessions for fitness.

All members of the coaching team are experienced boxers and are qualified by and affiliated to England Boxing.

As a Police Community Club the club have a serving police officer as their welfare officer.

In addition, the local Safer Neighbourhood Team visit often and are involved with many community projects run from the club.

The Fit & Fed Programme included an hour of fitness training for young people aged 10 to 16 years, followed by a two-course lunch, all for free.

Run throughout the six-week summer holiday, the idea was to encourage children to be more active, and receiving first-hand affordable experience of boxing training.

Another programme was aimed at increasing physical activity, and reducing anti-social behaviour in particular aimed at tackling knife crime, aptly entitled “Gloves Up, Knives Down”.

The club also have a very successful competitive squad, Othman Said last season reached the final in the national championships and won gold in the Birmingham Box Cup.

Laura Mansfield another up and coming senior female boxer, became British University Champion in February.

The club also provides non-contact sessions and fitness sessions.

Their well-established Christmas show takes place every year at Hereford Sixth Form College.

The show gives opportunities for the best local boxers to compete on one of the biggest shows in the country.

Following the Covid-19 pandemic the club are slowly starting to return with small group sessions starting outside the club.