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Niamh eyes a shot at glory
Buy this photo » Niamh McGuckin trains on the bags
FRESH from winning her national schoolgirl champion title, young boxer Niamh McGuckin is dreaming of Olympic glory.
Niamh, 13, from Berinsfield, is one of about 40 youngsters who enjoy subsidised boxing coaching four nights a week at Berinsfield Amateur Boxing Club (ABC).
She is hoping other young boxing enthusiasts will be able to join them, thanks to the Jubilee Fund for Oxfordshire.
The Larkmead School, Abingdon, pupil said: “I started coming along to the club to watch the competitions about four years ago and then decided to give it a go myself.
“I started competing, which was nerve-wracking but very exciting and then in December I went to Manchester and became the national schoolgirl champion of England (42kg), which was un-believable.
“Now I am dreaming of even bigger things, like the 2016 Olympics and the Commonwealth Games. My coaches say I could do it – and to win a medal for my country would be absolutely amazing.”
The Berinsfield ABC is run by brothers Mel and Lee Corrigan, who restarted the club in 1994 after it folded.
Mel Corrigan said: “I trained in boxing as a kid and wanted to make sure the sport continued here in Berinsfield to keep the youngsters on track.
“There are so many drugs around nowadays that children sometimes need something to keep them on the straight and narrow, and boxing can do that.
“Niamh is doing really well but there are dozens of kids who have discovered boxing here and who are enjoying a disciplined sport which keeps them off the streets and away from trouble.”
He continued: “We have been lucky here to get funding from the local councils and other grants for an extension which has provided us with a fabulous gym with full 18 foot and 16 foot rings, showers, changing rooms and disabled facilities.
“But providing coaching four nights a week, keeping the place in boxing bags, pads, gloves, running our minibus to competitions and even water and heating is an expensive business.”
The Jubilee Fund for Oxfordshire was set up in January by the Oxfordshire Community Foundation (OCF) to mark the Queen’s Jubilee Year by helping to fund the many charities and good causes struggling in the current economic downturn.
Individuals, schools, clubs and businesses are being asked to make a difference in their own communities, by raising or donating money to the fund, which will be given in a series of £1,000 grants to local charities.
Mel Corrigan added: “If we were to receive a £1,000 Jubilee grant we would be over the moon and it would certainly be put to good use.
“Things like new vests and shorts would be invested in straight away.”
Ashley Merry, from the Oxfordshire Community Foundation, , said: “Berinsfield Amateur Boxing Club is having a real impact on many young lives in Oxfordshire and helping them become winners both inside and outside the ring.”
To donate to the Jubilee Fund or to volunteer to fundraise on its behalf, email firstname.lastname@example.org , call 01865 798666, or drop into OCF’s offices at 3 Woodins Way, Oxford.
Alternatively, donate by phone by texting JBLE 12 to 70070 with a donation. To apply for Jubilee Fund cash, visit oxfordshire.org
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