BIRCH Green Amateur Boxing Club has reopened again after the coronavirus restrictions have been lifted and members this year are remembering their founder who died 40 years ago.
They are going to mark the achievements of Joe O’Brien, their founder and “great coach”, by having a photo of Joe above the ring in his memory, so he can “watch over his gym and will always be with us.”
Birch Green ABC was opened in the late seventies by Joe O’Brien and he ran the gym until he passed away on May 25, 1981.
Joe had produced many champions while the head coach of Birch Green and his death was described a “terrible loss” to the gym.
After Joe’s death the club kept going through the work of assistant coach Reg Weightman until the club final closed in the early 1980s.
Colin Day, a former member of Birch Green ABC (now coach), and Mick Riley decided to re-open the boxing club, after it had been closed for more than 30 years.
Mr Day said: “The club had a bad start, after building up a team of boxers over a couple of years of the re-opening.
“We were the subject of an arson attack and had to close for nearly two years.
“The club was rebuilt through the hard work of coaching staff and help from the community, sadly we lost all our talented boxers to other boxing clubs in the surrounding area.
“However, Birch Green ABC again began to grow only to be hit by the pandemic, which again had a similar affect as the fire and we lost more boxers.
“During the pandemic we still had to pay our bills to pay without any income, but received a grant from the government. Our treasurer, Ian Paterson, worked hard for the grant. The money helped us immensely to pay bills, and buy some new equipment.
“We are now back up and ready to start over again and hopefully our troubles are behind us.”
The club is open to youngsters and adults, and there is training for people from the age of nine up to adults.
There is training for nine to 14 year olds from 5pm to 6pm on a Monday and Wednesday and from 6pm till 7.30pm on a Monday and Wednesday there is training for people 14-year-olds until adults.
All coaches are first aid trained, have child safeguarding and protection training, and all have been DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) checked.
The coaching staff are: Colin Day Snr; Kevin Bateman; Karl Day; John Baxter; John Paul King; and Colin Day Jnr.
The newly painted club has new equipment with a new sign over the building supplied by Service Graphics and the roof is about to be repaired with the help of Myers Roofing.
Mr Day added: “Birch Green ABC would like to thank Myers Roofing and Service Graphics for their sponsorship.
“If their are any companies within the Skelmersdale area that would like to sponsor the club, please get in touch via our Facebook page.”