A boxing club that has transformed lives at the heart of a Middlesbrough community has received a royal seal of approval.
The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service is in recognition of years of work that have given young people fresh opportunities while helping to cut down crime and anti-social behaviour.
The Middlesbrough Amateur Boxing Club was nominated by North Ormesby Community Hub Manager Val Gibson, leading to a visit by the Deputy Lord Lieutenant of North Yorkshire Nigel Wood and the club’s shortlisting for the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.
The award was confirmed at the end of 2017, making the club one of just five voluntary groups to receive the accolade among hundreds of applications from across North Yorkshire.
Val said: “When the Deputy Lord Lieutenant came and met all of the volunteers at the club, he was overwhelmed by their dedication and commitment.
“The Queen’s Award is richly deserved, and reflects an amazing amount of work to support young people to channel their energy into something positive, and go on to achieve their potential.”
Volunteers from the North Ormesby-based club visited Scampston Hall near Malton to receive the award and a certificate signed by the Queen.
Manager Tony Whitby – Middlesbrough’s 2016 Citizen of the Year - has run the club for more than 20 years and was also invited to Buckingham Palace in honour of his achievements.
Tony founded the club to offer boxing opportunities to young people from the local community, promoting values of discipline and respect, as well as encouraging healthy lifestyles and offering alternatives to crime and anti-social behaviour.
He said: “It’s brilliant – not many clubs achieve this, so it’s great for the club and great for the area.
“It’s for all the volunteers and everyone that’s involved with the club, because they’re the ones that keep it alive and keeping growing.
“Everyone is over the moon, and we have a fresh intake of kids, so we’re going from strength to strength.”
North Ormesby ward member Councillor Lewis Young added: “The Middlesbrough Amateur Boxing Club epitomises the essence and values of grass roots sport.
“This award is a tribute to the sort of contribution to the local community that really does change lives, and sets a standard for others to follow.
“Congratulations to all involved, and I look forward to seeing the club and its members continue to flourish over the coming years.”