A disused textile mill has been transformed to provide knockout premises for a thriving boxing club.
Bridge Croft Mills at Milnsbridge has been turned into an impressive state-of-the-art gym for Rawthorpe Amateur Boxing Club (RABC).
The three-storey former woollen mill at Tanyard Road will open on January 2 with an impressive range of facilities.
As well as a top floor boxing gym complete with three boxing rings and equipment the venue also includes a ground floor play and learning area for the club’s early year boxers as well as a first floor Fit for Life centre with fitness machines, weights and a matted area for various training classes.
It’s the realisation of a long-held ambition for boxing coach Mark Reynolds who said: “It’s been nearly three years since we took on what has been a massive refurbishment.
“The three-story building is 10,000 sq ft and it needed completely gutting, new stairways on both sides of the premises, new toilet facilities, flooring, ceilings, kitchen and decoration – all works having to be monitored by the Building Control and fire regulations.”
RABC received no government or local council funding for the scheme, but was able to complete the project following a five-figure sponsorship deal with Elland-based construction firm Brierstone Ltd.
Said Mark: “It was a huge task and we’ve been lucky that on top of the support from Brierstone, we’ve had some of our members and parents helping out with the work each week. There’s been 30,000 voluntary hours been put into this building, which has all been done by us at the boxing club from members and parents for the local community.”
The club, which is run on an entirely voluntary basis, is affiliated to the Amateur Boxing Association of England and has produced several regional and national winning boxers over the years.
Mark said it was hoped the new premises – which are four times the size of the club’s former gym at Gasworks Street in Huddersfield – would help attract more aspiring boxers and continue to produce athletes of an elite level.
He said the new venue was also aimed at the wider community with facilities that could be used by organisations including schools and colleges.
The club, which currently has 300 members, celebrates its 20th anniversary next year. Mark said: “We have helped thousands of people get into a healthy life style by using boxing and the way boxers train to help people get fit and learn about diet and nutrition.”
Brierstone managing director Dax Bradley said: “We are delighted to have been able to help out the club and put something back into the community.
“Mark Reynolds and everybody at Rawthorpe Amateur Boxing Club do a tremendous job promoting the sport and providing an opportunity for youngsters so it is only fitting they have the right gym to train in.
“We are pleased to be the club’s main sponsor over the coming years and I look forward to seeing the progress that Mark and all at the club can now make.”