Why clubs need your support to #KOCOVID19: Biddulph Boxing Club

April 11, 2020 | by Matt Halfpenny


The Coronavirus outbreak did come at a good time for Ray Bennett and James Biddulph, having recently taken on new premises to establish a permanent home for Biddulph Boxing Gym.

After much hustle and bustle in attempting to get the Staffordshire venue ready for opening, progress has been halted by pandemic, but the long-term friends are determined that they will find a way to #KOCOVID19 in the long run.

The pair first met at the boxing gym when the younger James first joined as at around the age of 12, not realising that one day they would run a club together.

James turned out to have not only a Championship amateur career but is now an unbeaten professional boxer and, when he turned over to the pro game, it was their intention that Ray, 10 years his senior, would be his trainer.

“With all that goes with turning pro, we both very quickly began to yearn for the times when we were coming up together at first George ABC and then later at Tom Lowes ABC, and the community spirit that we were part of back then,” said James,

“Ray had mentioned to me that he wanted to start up classes within our local community in Biddulph , Staffordshire, and immediately I was hooked and we set about finding premises to deliver these community sessions.”

It quickly became obvious that there was a great need in the community, which is when the pair sought out how to become qualified coaches and affiliate the club correctly with England Boxing to ensure that they met all statutory obligations and become the best club it could.

Club Support Officer for the Midlands, Mick Maguire guided them through the process and they booked on Level 1 coaching courses and took the necessary safeguarding, DBS, and first aid qualifications earlier this year.

Successfully locating a premises to operate out of followed and though a fair bit of work before opening was still activity classes continued at the local centre prior to the government lockdown and social distancing measures being brought in.

The revenue that was being secured from the activity classes, which was funding the renovation, has now completely dried up, which has caused a significant cash-flow problem.

However, they have come up with one novel way of raising money on their #KOCOVID19 fundraising page, with the help of a big shave from Ray.

He said: “I have sported a long beard for many years now and people were always daring me to shave it off, so I hit on the idea of joining in the #KOCOVID19 campaign and shaving my beard off for donations to our fund.

“Originally we asked for £500, and we are already in excess of that amount, but we have a lot of work to do to get the new club open and ready for the community use so, if you are able to, please donate as every penny helps.”

The pair are relishing their new roles and can’t wait to finish what they started once the social distancing measures ease.

“Deciding to open a club has been the best thing we have ever done,” said James. “It has given us both tremendous pleasure to be able to give back to a sport that has done so much for us and it gives us a chance to make a difference in rebuilding our local community as well.”

You can donate to the Biddulph KOCOVID 19 fund here.

You can find out more details and support a participating club of your choice by going to: www.englandboxing.org/clubs/kocovid19/

Follow all the latest on the campaign across social media using the hashtag #KOCOVID19