Mayor Jim Dodds went back in time on Saturday when he visited Rawthorpe Amateur Boxing Club’s new premises.
For the Denby Dale councillor was a former boxer from his days in the Army - and went along to see how work on the 10,000 sq ft once derelict three-storey mill is progressing.
The gym, in Bridge Croft Mills, in Tanyard Road, Milnsbridge, is slowly but surely being transformed under Mark Reynolds’ leadership.
The boxing club was founded way back in October 1998.
Since then it has delivered on its pledge to provide fitness and boxing training at Rawthorpe High School for young people in the community.
As well as teaching young people the art of boxing more importantly it also teaches them the disciplines of life and how to respect themselves and others.
Mark says it is vital in giving them the support that is often missing from their lives and helps to prevent under-privileged children from falling into bad company.
It provides them with a true sense of community, a sense of belonging and learning to respect their fellow man.
Clr Dodds, who served 35 years in the Royal Signals and left as a Major, said: “Mark has done a fantastic job and a lot of the groundwork but he needs local business and people to help him achieve his aim.”
And he joked: “He did give me tha opportunity to hit him on the nose but I couldn’t quite bring myself to knock him out.”
Mark said: “Jim is a fantastic man and we have known each other for around 10 years or so and we are very grateful for him sparing the time to come and see us today.
“We have invested £25,000 so far and there 2,500 voluntary man hours gone into it.
“It was just a derelict mill strewn with rubble we we cam in. But we get no funding and I would estimate we need another £25,000.
“I would like to see us opening by the end of the summer. We have been here 18 months.
“I might have walked away if I had known quite how difficult it would be but we have gone too far to back out now.”