A Hereford boxing club have proved they are not punching above their weight after scooping a coveted Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, writes PAUL BROOME.

Wye Amateur Boxing Club, which boasts former professional Darren ‘Dazzo’ Williams among their coaching ranks, will receive the ‘MBE for volunteer groups’ just four years after they began at Hinton Community Centre.

The news could be the start of a dream week for the group - their leading female fighter, 18-year-old Sarah Whistance, is bidding to become a national champion.

Coach and club secretary Vince McNally said: “The support we have received from across the city has been fantastic and this award is in recognition of all the work and effort that has been put into the club.”

City solicitor Roland Wooderson was one of those who nominated the club.

“They’ve helped to turn it into an excellent opportunity for the youth of Hereford to enjoy a facility which allows them to do something worthwhile with their time.”

Around 100 members regularly flock to the community centre on Ross Road for lessons and tournaments. Bosses say it is a ideal way to engage with youngsters.

“If we can get kids hooked on sport then it gives them something into which they can channel their energy and concentrate upon,” said McNally.

He reserved special praise for both senior coach Del Strachan who has “put in so much work”, and club chairman Richie Roberts. “We are also grateful to Dazzo Williams as it is great to use his experience,” he said. “We are very fortunate to have him at the club.”

Representatives will now be invited to a celebratory garden party at Buckingham Palace later this summer.

The club’s reputation could be further enhanced on Sunday when Hereford Sixth Form College student Sarah Whistance bids to become a national champion.

The 18-year-old, who has been made a club coach, takes on Lorna Redfern for the sought-after title.