A BOXING club fighting to stay open has attracted big names to support its cause.
Former world champion Terry Marsh has joined Holland ShawABC to coach youngsters during weekly sessions.
Gym bosses spent £5,500 doing up a derelict warehouse in Bowlers Croft, on the Cranes Industrial Estate, in Basildon.
However, they were denied planning permission in December because councillors said it was against policy to allow business premises to be used for leisure.
The decision came in spite of body building gym Ripped Gym moving in to a similar warehouse just weeks earlier.
Now volunteer trainers behind the gym are compiling a dossier of evidence to prove why they should be allowed to stay. They have backing from the National Association of Boys Clubs and are confident they will soon also get backing from the Amateur Boxing Association.
Terry Marsh is also attending training sessions to give advice to up to 25 boxers aged from 11 on Monday and Wednesday nights.
Trainer Richard Adams said: “The kids are quite pleased to be working with Terry, especially to get the advice from him. It’s a good advertisement for boxing and for him to give up Monday and Wednesday nights is brilliant.
Believing in us gives us a confidence in what we are doing.”
Mr Adams was initially told by Basildon Council to look for town centre sites, but he said the only place suitable was £175,000 in rent and £41,000 in rates.
He added: “That’s far too expensive to run a gym for the community.
“Our long term goal is to work with schools and young offenders. It’s already shocked us how well it’s gone so far. We have kids who were very aggressive, but now they are fine.
“Children feel like they’re part of something rather than hanging around on a street corner causing mischief.
“This club gives kids motivation and teaches them discipline, respect and fitness in a different way to the classroom.
“The council needs to get behind us.”
Basildon Council declined to comment.