MEMBERS of a boxing club are celebrating 10 years of fighting success.

Leaders at the Rawthorpe Amateur Boxing Club have helped to keep thousands of youngsters off the streets over the past decade.

They marked their 10th birthday with a holiday club for children and a visit from Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman today.

Mark Reynolds, founder of the club, said: “What we are doing is keeping the kids off the streets and giving them something to focus on.

“We don’t just teach them how to box, we educate them as well. We are teaching them how to be better citizens, giving them some life skills and hopefully turning their lives around.

“I hope that we are able to enhance young peoples’ lives. The reaction has been massive.

“Some of the kids we have here would say we have helped to change their lives and that’s what we’re here to do. To see the difference is amazing and makes it all worthwhile.”

In the last 18 months, 1,300 young people have taken part in sessions at the centre.

Boys and girls as young as five join members as old as 78 at the boxing skills sessions at The Gas Club at Gasworks Street.

The club works with local school children as well as young offenders.

The club is staffed by volunteers and also by members of the GMB union, which has used it as the inspiration for similar schemes in other areas.

As well as boxing and training classes, leaders offer education sessions looking at anger management and confidence building.

Coaches at the club are also approved to help with weight management for young children who are diagnosed as being obese.

On Wednesday, young people aged between eight and 12 took part in a half term holiday club organised by Mark and Sean Reynolds.

The work of the club has been praised by Clr Jim Dodds, who is Kirklees Council’s Cabinet member for young people.

He visited the club recently and said: “I was very impressed that there were young boys and girls from all over Kirklees at the club. RABC works around the Every Child Matters agenda, not only to teach the skills of amateur boxing, but also skills for life.”

It is constantly looking for sponsorship and help to continually improve its good work.